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2004-04-13 Every day is an anniversary when you lose someone close

For anyone who has lost a loved one, every day is an anniversary. On March 29th 2002, my dear mother and my life's inspiration left this world for the next. At the time of her death, friends rallied around and their support was quite honestly more than I could have ever hoped for at such a difficult time.

 

A few months later I shared with you my own personal, but not professional, experiences of bereavement. It was around that time the inevitable also happened - I and my family were left to continue the grieving process more or less alone. This is normal. People assume you are over the worst of it by then, and unless these people have been through something similar, who can blame them? Those of you who have lost someone close to you know however that it is not just as simple as that, and that anniversaries, landmarks and reminders pop up all the time, often when you are least expecting them, and when you are very much off-guard.

 

The March/April period will always be a tough time of year for our family. No sooner had Mothers Day passed by in mid-March, when we found ourselves facing the anniversary itself. March 29th 2002 was a Good Friday, Easter Sunday was the removal, the funeral was on Easter Monday, and so, Easter will always have that triple reminder, alongside the positive image of the Christian resurrection. October 8th is my parents wedding anniversary, December 1st is Mums birthday, and then there is Christmas, New Year, even Pancake Tuesday.

Aside from all of this, reminders have the habit of popping up every day. In the supermarket, I pass by products that Mum would always insist on having in her trolley  a particular brand of margarine for example, or Tuc Crackers.

The irresistible aroma of freshly baked bread brings me straight back to trips with my mother to Thomas Street bakery. The sight of Caramel Squares (Millionaires Shortbread), meat loaf, home-made chutney or apple crumble transports me back to the kitchen at Cartron, doing my homework as I watched Mum bake and cook. Watching a teacher in front of a classroom of kids, the scent of White Linen perfume, the sight of someone with their hair recently set or permed, the sight and scent of a colourful rose garden, daffodils and crocuses in Springtime, the colour mauve, nutty chocolate bars, Cadburys Caramel, or the sound of her favourite song Thank you for the music by ABBA, are just a small selection of the things which bring my mothers memory racing back to my world every day. Every time I drive past the Regional Tech (the IT), the Grammar School, the hospital or hospice, I give Mum a thought.

When I walk her favourite beach at Lissadell, when I marvel at another breath-taking cloud formation over Sligo Bay, when I am blinded by the sun streaming through the conifers high up on the Glencar mountain road, or when I see her image clearly in a dream, I can sense my mother a little nearer. When I hear that dreaded word cancer, my mothers bravery and positivity in the face of death comes to mind, and when I tread the boards at the Gaiety Theatre, I remember that awful night having learned of her passing.

A short time ago I was wandering along the North Sligo coast when I happened upon a cross down along the shoreline with a name, date and some flowers. I know nothing about the circumstances surrounding this memorial and do not want to dwell on it too much in order to protect the familys privacy. It may be where the person died, or maybe this was his favourite spot, I dont know. I think it is a beautiful thing to have a reminder like this at a persons favourite beauty-spot, and I dream of a seaside seat at Lissadell beach in memory of my dear Mum.

I am of course getting on with my life, because as we all know only too well  life does go on, and so, all of the above doesnt mean I am suffering : I just dont want to ever forget our familys First Lady. For all these reasons, and more, every day is an anniversary.