Been in a glum mood most of this week, not really knowing why, then I remembered what month it was, October, anniversary of my mum dying. I can feel totally fine, then this time of year happens, it coincides with the season change and assumed it’s that, but seasons changing don’t normally make me want to cry. Mixed with being ill, and when I’m ill (and sure I’m not the only one that thinks this) but when I’m ill I just want my mum to tuck me up in bed and bring me warm food to eat. I’ve also been shooting more, and perhaps the final, recipes of my mums this week, hoping, or at least trying, to bring the project to a close. All these things mixed together helped create a feeling of melancholy. I genuinely feel great at the moment, it’s just the few days before the anniversary it hits me. I’ve written lots about anniversaries, how they just seem to be there to remind us of the sadness we hoped had shifted, and don’t really do anything positive. As the years pass, and it’s six years tomorrow since my mum died, I kind of expect each year for this sadness not to arise so much, but it does, perhaps slightly less each year but still very much there. I admit it is different, it’s not grief anymore, it’s just missing I think. It’s six years since I saw mum, and that number just gets bigger and bigger each year. But now, when I feel like this, I’m actually fine, I think you can feel sad but also fine at the same time. The sadness is something I can identify now, I can feel it and control it. Something I couldn’t do with grief, grief was endless twists and turns.
Last night I was discussing my project with a friend, a very good photographer himself, we were chatting about how I might structure my book about food and writings about grief, he asked if grief was like seasons, I instantly said no, it’s constant, never changing. But after thinking about it of course it’s like seasons! It comes and goes, no real control over it, somethings very sudden transitions, others more a gradual sweeping flow, coming and going as it likes. It’s perfectly compared to seasons, how I missed that is strange. But I’ve realised when I think back to grief I can’t actually remember the exact feelings of when I was in it. I recently read something about this, your mind is kind of protecting you from it. It’s similar to something else I recently read about child birth and how there’s a hormone that releases in a woman’s brain that makes her forget exactly how painful the birth was (or something like that), otherwise you’d never have another baby. I think the forgetting the pain of grief is the same, if you could remember how bad it was you’d never get close to anyone else again for the fear of loosing them and going through all that again. It’s quite amazing and also so logical too, the human mind never fails to amaze me.
So anyway, feeling a bit ill and down this week I decided to shoot some of the remaining recipes of my mums I’ve wanted to try. I spent three days learning to make soufflés, creme brulees, baked pears, salsa verde, gazpacho, french onion soup, and a few other lovely things. Wasn’t sure if it’d make me feel better or worst, but I feel better today so that’s progress. It was actually fun!