To my mother on her birthday. A letter of grief and love.

Today you would have been 56.

©Sarah Woodside

But you aren’t here to celebrate and I miss you. That’s a massive understatement. I miss you doesn’t even come close to how I feel. I long for you. My heart physically aches without your presence.

I promised myself I would write a positive post to honour your birthday. But in truth I sat and stared at the blank page and didn’t know what to write. What is positive about the emptiness we feel without you? I am not sure I will ever understand why you were taken, you didn’t deserve it. You deserved so much more.

It still feels strange that time is passing and you aren’t here. Every new day makes me feel further apart from you. I cannot fathom a life without you.  We must go on, but how? How is this the cards we’ve been dealt. How is it fair?

Everyone assumes it’s the big moments that will hurt the most. When Arlo was born, when future children are born, Mothers Day, Christmas Day, when I get married (eventually!) All those moments when you should be here. And I’m not saying they don’t hurt because fuck they do, but it’s the little things that catch you off guard and so suddenly take your breath away.

These moments happen every day, a daily reminder that you aren’t here anymore. Smelling a new perfume and thinking “mum would like that.” Standing in the kitchen cooking second guessing myself and wanting to double check something. I forever rang you and Jon asking random cooking questions, “hi mum i’m cooking a whole chicken how would you do it?” etc. Of course I could google these things but I never had to. You’ve gone but every time I’m in the kitchen and I’m not too sure on something I pick my phone up and go to call you Then I stand choked as I remember of course I can’t call, you aren’t here anymore. Having an argument with Tom over something ridiculously stupid and wanting to phone you, to rant down the phone and just have a good moan.  Wanting to speak to an adult, well someone more adult than me, because sometimes you just need your mum, no matter how old you are.

It’s the pain of you missing out. The future that was stolen from you. I look at pictures of granny surrounded by grandchildren and think you’ll never have that. Of course you had Carries children but you’ll never meet mine or Dans. All the fond memories I have with granny and grandad, Arlo won’t have those memories.

Up until you were diagnosed the only person I knew with Motor Neurone Disease was Stephen Hawking. Lately it seems it surrounds me. I have come across so many stories of other people with loved ones also with the disease. The recurring theme though is that the majority of those diagnosed are still here. The disease seems to have been kinder on them, if that’s at all possible with its hideous nature, so many still live to fight another day even after being diagnosed long before you. Why do they get to thrive and you were taken so cruelly, so suddenly? It isn’t fair.

Maybe one day they’ll find a cure, part of me hopes they do, having witnessed the disease attack you I wouldn’t wish for anyone to go through it. Part of me secretly (less so now) and selfishly hopes they don’t. I don’t want to hear of a cure because it wasn’t here when you needed it. It couldn’t save you.

I have so many fears for the future. I’m scared i’ll forget the sound of your voice, the way you used to laugh, the way you used to tell me to “go and boil my head”, the advice you gave, the fun we had.

I have so many memories and anecdotes,  I cling to them and remember them often. But equally I’m scared they’ll fade away, i’ll find myself years down the line only remembering part of the story.

I wish that things had been different. I don’t think i’ll ever be ok again. I’m trying to find a way to keep going, to find the light in the darkness.

Another birthday. That makes two you’ve missed.

I shall celebrate for you, every year. Happy Birthday. I love you my beautiful mummy, now and always. I have always loved you most.

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