We’ve passed the seven month mark. Seven months since Mum died. I’m not sure when I’ll stop counting these milestones. Maybe it’ll happen when things get easier. I’m not sure it’s getting any easier yet, in some ways it’s getting harder. The day Mum died was hard, but every day since, there’s been a nagging voice in my head saying: “The longer she’s dead, the more she misses.”
I moved house again last week. A few months ago I had to move out of halls very quickly due to taking a Leave of Absence from uni, so I lodged with someone for a couple of months. But last week I moved out, into a flat which I’m sharing with a friend. I’ve also got a new job – I’m still waiting for a start date, but it’s another life change. They’re both really positive life changes, but changes nonetheless.
My Dad has been incredibly helpful in all this, as have a couple of friends. They’ve helped me make decisions, taught me valuable life lessons, and in Dad’s case, helped me move everything I own from one house to another.
I have noticed Mum’s absence, though. When you get a new job, one of the first things you usually do is tell your parents. When moving house, your parents (with any luck!) provide a vehicle of some kind and some extra arms and legs for carrying things up and down stairs. Mums, in particular, are good at remembering things you forget (such as cleaning products – a quick trip to the shop now means we have the best-stocked cleaning cupboard in York, but it’s something I hadn’t factored into the big move).
There wasn’t really anything that she would have done that didn’t get done anyway. In fact, I can’t think of anything in particular that would have been her ‘job’. At one point I did consider she may have helped me buy some new work clothes, but then I remembered she used to practically pay people to take me shopping, so maybe not!
A lack of significant ‘role’ for her doesn’t mean I’ve felt her absence any less, though. I didn’t miss her too much during the actual house-move (another pair of hands would have been useful but we can blame my brother’s man-flu for that!), but I missed her that first night. I don’t know why I missed her then – even if she was alive she’d have been at her house, not mine – but I did.
Before Mum died, I never knew how much space an absence could take up. I didn’t realise how noisy silence could be. I don’t really know how to describe it, and perhaps it’s something you never really come across until someone close to you dies, but absence can seep into every aspect of your life and can grow at an alarming rate.
It goes deeper than a simple nothing. “Nothing” can easily be masked by white noise; the radio, TV, a trip with some friends, tasteful home furnishings, or a chat on the phone. “Nothing” is easy to cover up. But absence is deeper. No amount of noise can stifle it, no amount of talking can deplete it, no amount of looking-after-yourself, being sociable or distracting yourself can make it go away. It demands to be noticed.
Time is moving forward, life is changing, and good things are happening. None of it makes the absence disappear, and sometimes it makes the absence even more noticeable, but it’s also essential. My life can’t remain in 2015, it can’t get stuck in a time when Mum was still alive – it’s got to carry on, and that means that I’ve got to keep on doing what I can to live in the present.
2 thoughts on “Silence is Noisy”
Oh darling girl, your blogs never fail to move me. I posted on your page a while ago the poem “Grief” I think this, more than anything else I have seen written about bereavement, sums up how changed my life is since the death of my Mum, nearly 2 years ago now. Since my Mum died I have opened up my own business and have just been given an award for being “the best” in my county . These accolades are, of course, fantastic, BUT still feel empty without being able to share them with my Mum. Her absence will always be a huge hole in my life and if anything it’s “happy times” like these that make me miss her even more keenly. The only comfort I can take is that I know how proud she would be of me. Just as I know, having followed your blog since the beginning, how proud your Mum would be of you ……. x Big hugs and kisses, and best wishes to you for your new adventures.
Thank you, I’m sorry I missed your comment! I’ll go and hunt it down 🙂 It sounds like you’re achieving amazing things – sometimes the rough parts of life are the things that build us into the people we become. I hope you’re managing patches of calm and peace. Naomi xxx