I spent much of last week finishing off my Tulip book, on Friday afternoon as I sent off the whole book to the publisher for the final checks it felt very weird. This book has been with me for many years, it’s my last contact with my mum, and now I’m letting it go, and with it perhaps a part of her. It’s a very strange feeling, and I hadn’t really acknowledged this might happen. It’s strange as a few people asked me how I was feeling when I was running my Kickstarter, and really I felt ok. The whole campaign was actually quite detached from the project, it was a job with a financial goal and all very business like, stressful and hard work, there was no chance to really thinking about letting it go in someway.
As I looked through the book checking every image for a final time, I stopped on a page, something really hit me, it wasn’t even one of my favourite images and not particularly an image that shows a poignant moment. It was a close up portrait of my mum’s face, all you really see is her eye lashes. In what was probably only a few seconds of time that I was starring at it, it felt like a hundred tv screens were playing in my head, each flashing up a different memory. What I really remembered was the feel of her eyelashes, she used to do Butterfly Kisses on my cheek when I was a young child, and I could feel them on my face right then and still can. She had tiny, short lashes, so it was this really light soft touch, I can remember it so well.
It was a lovely memory, and I’m really glad of this moment to remember it, but the whole process of sending off the book really hit me then, and only really then. It’s a form of grief, and I suppose it’s a reminder that grief never goes. Five years on and it still hits you at times, but I don’t mind that I feel like this, but it does put a cloud over other things. I was supposed to be going to celebrate that night with close friends about another friend arriving back in London after a long trip, but I just couldn’t get into it, I tried drinking to hide the feelings but they weren’t going anywhere. Everyone and everything got on my nerves, so I left. I felt bad, but just needed to be on my own. And then I just couldn’t face the pub for another event this weekend. It reminded me of being in the deep dark bit of grief where human interaction was really difficult, when all I wanted to do was stay in bed and watch films on my own. It wasn’t that bad at all this weekend, but it just reminded me that as much as you think your ‘better’ and you’ve learnt to have some control over your emotions, anything can trigger a memory and knock you. But like I say in my book, as long as I feel grief I’ll always feel her presence, so I just get used to it.
Writing this all down helps makes sense of it. I started this blog when my mum first got ill, it became one of the main ways of me to work it all out, and it still helps now. I’m happy now, I really am, and the writing has really contributed to this. It helps to see it on a page, make something coherent out of all the stuff in my head, it’s a bit like speaking to a counsellor or an old friend, it makes me feel better and takes a lot of the stuff out of my head, which leaves room for more fun times…and I can feel there any lots to come.