Three years on …

If you don’t like my personal posts – stop reading now.

Nearly three whole years have passed since I got the unexpected phone call from my brother that would turn my life upside down for just over two years. I got the phone call at work just after lunch time, and I had a feeling something wasn’t quite right, as he never calls me when I’m at work.

There had been a big bright rainbow the day before, but not the day he phoned me. It was a cloudy November day, and he called me to let me know that my Mum has passed away. My world seemed to unexpectedly and tumble uncontrollably away from me in slow motion. I had thought about this day before, but nothing quite prepared me for it.

My brother knew the score, and he knew I hadn’t had her in my life for over 10 years. And that things had been challenging between us before then. So he told me she was gone, but didn’t expect anything from me. He’d already made three other calls to my siblings by that point – ever the middle child, in the middle of us all in more ways than one.

He didn’t expect anything from me, but knew that he needed to tell me she’d gone. I knew right there and then that I’d need to try to put any upsetting feelings and emotions I had about my Mum and the childhood I remembered aside, and be there to help my brother and my family. No matter what.

I put the phone down and immediately felt really uneasy. I didn’t know how to tell people, and didn’t feel like I should get their kind words or pity. But I knew that I would do anything required of me and do what was right, no matter how hard it was for me. My life had to stop for a bit, and I needed to do what was right.

When someone’s Mum dies, I’d imagine it’s probably and usually one of the worst things that can happen to them. But my feelings weren’t sadness or mourning. They were uncomfortable, and strange feelings – I felt like I was being pulled uncontrollably into an abyss that seemed never to be ending. Not knowing how to explain to people that she hadn’t been a part of my life anymore, and that I’d said good bye to her a long time ago.

After many attempts of trying to build bridges with her, I decided I was better off without her when I was about 25… then when I was 34 I made a final peace with my decision, and said a final goodbye to her when we were at my Aunt’s funeral in 2014. I knew I was better off without my Mum.

I had demons from my childhood and from our past, but I’d dealt with them and sent them on their way. Before my Mum died I was in a good place, settled, happy, fit and healthy. And when she was alive, it was hard enough saying to people I didn’t have her in my life, as it was such an odd thing for so many people, to (have chosen to)not have their mum in their lives.

Then when she died I was thrown into a world of turmoil. Bringing back horrible things I’d forgotten, and having to do things I never thought I’d do, because somebody needed to do them, and that somebody was me (or my partner, my brother or his wife).

I had a month off work to start to deal with everything. Setting up her funeral on my own, clearing her house, doing what I could to get through it. I lost a stone in weight. I was challenged more than I’d ever been challenged in my life.

A big dark cloud descended and didn’t seem to clear, for months and then eventually for a couple of years. It felt like walking through treacle or thick black oil at points, and it seemed to be never ending. I took each day and week as it came. I leaned on my partner, my brother and his family. I opened up to my Dad and I got counselling to talk my way through it.

But I also saw the light and the positives in it all,

One day about a year and a half later, when the estate was still seemingly endlessly rumbling on… my partner said to me ‘Why can’t you just be like you were before it happened? You didn’t even think about her then, and now she’s in your head all the time.’

I’m pretty sure the first 8-10 years of my life were pretty good – a normal family, living a normal life, but I don’t remember it. I know from photos I seemed to be a happy child, and I never wanted for anything.

Then things went a bit pear shaped and it turned into a bumpy and different childhood in it’s later years, leading to an independent adulthood. 16 years with her in my life, then intermittent attempts for me to get back in touch with her, being disappointed by her each time, until I’d eventually had enough and stopped trying.

As an adult I realised I didn’t like the woman she was, as harsh as that might sound. And each time she lied or disappointed me, I realised it even more.

I’d forged other relationships and had other people in my life who gave me the guidance I wanted from a mother. I realised I was better off without her, and had 10 mostly peaceful and fun years until she passed away in 2015.

I ended up thanking those who had been there for me, by giving them a glass rainbow each, something just clicked and I realised how much they’d been there for me (you know who you are) –

The estate was finally wrapped up a week after the second anniversary in late 2017, and the clouds were lifted to reveal the next chapter in my life. A new job in January, led to more purpose and achievement at work, and the last year had totally felt like a reward for all the sh!t I dealt with after she died.

My comeuppance, delivered as she said it would be, but maybe it’s just fate or karma, and the universe rewarding me for all of the uncomfortable and emotionally challenging things I had to do to close things off. Work delivered purpose and reward again for me.

This last year my work has allowed me to flourish. It’s had me helping hundreds of people, and meeting hundreds more whilst we recruit record numbers of staff for our new news programme on our new channel.

Last week, I was busy co-ordinating interviews and a Correspondent was walking up the stairs after she’d cycled to work. She rather nicely remarked to me ‘there’s the girl that fixes everything!’ I blushed slightly, smiled and went on my way.

But then that day, I did fix things – a lot of things, whilst making things happen seamlessly. In my element, and feeling very grateful to be doing what I’m doing at such and exciting time at BBC Scotland.

Just under a year since the estate was just about to be wrapped up and what a difference a year makes. What a difference three years makes. The numerous challenges I faced have made me a stronger person, able to deal with anything, just like my childhood did.

In the last year I’ve gradually got back to the person I was before she died. She was out of my life, then was abruptly forced back into every day for a couple of years. Now she’s gone again, and I’ve moved on again from the torment my Mum brought me. The wounds were rudely opened without my permission, but now they’ve healed again.

One thing I have noticed is that I really don’t like not being in control of things – I get quiet and a bit angry and upset. But as long as I know that, I’m fine. It’s something that didn’t used to happen before, but now it creeps up on me and can hit me hard. But I fix things, it’s what I do, and I’ll keep on doing it.

Three years on and Super Lorn has been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but I’m back at the top again, enjoying the views. Hopefully the good times and the good comeuppance / fate or good karma will continue. 🙂

And hopefully as the years go on, the 17th of November will become less and less significant to me, and more of a chapter closed, than anything else.

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