Losing my anchor is hard to explain. It feels like I’m floating around in life with nothing to tie me down or ground me.
As Hope Edelman writes in Motherless Daughters:
But if you’re twenty-five and you’ve lost your mother, how do you know where you are? It’s really, really difficult to not know where you are at that age. You need to be in relation to something. Dad may be really important and helpful, but he’s not a woman.
I’m a bit younger than 25… but it still resonates with me. My emotions can run wild and there is nobody to keep them in check. Sometimes I get upset (like anyone else), but where there used to be that person to give me a hug or receive a ‘brain dump’ text, there is now a blank space. Other times I’m really happy, good things have happened and I want to share them. But it’s hard sometimes to find that person to share it with. So it peters out.
I don’t really want anyone to fix anything. I’m not really expecting any answers. I just want someone to say ‘actually, yeah, that’s crap’, and then have a chat, give me a hug, and move on with life.
It’s a weird sensation losing your life anchor. Sometimes it’s a very lonely place to be. It can feel like you’re out at sea and you can shout, scream, sing, dance, whatever… but nobody can see or hear you.
When you have an anchor, it can be easier to try new things, meet new people, and go to new places, because you know that there is someone to come back to if it goes wrong (or if it goes right!). You know that after a long day, when you’re tired, there’s someone to welcome you home. You know that if you get ill, there’s someone to look after you (even if it is by text). You know that if you have questions to ask, there is someone to go to.
My Dad is very good for a lot of these things. He’s still there to go to and is pretty much always there when I need him. My two brothers are also lifesavers at times (even if communication is sometimes a struggle for a 16-year-old boy). I have some amazing friends, too, who listen to my brain outpourings and answer my questions. I’m lucky to have some fantastic women in my life who mentor me, listen to me, answer questions and give me hugs. Some I view as almost adopted ‘big sisters’. But nobody will ever replace Mum. Nobody has the seemingly unlimited amounts of time, love, and patience that Mum possessed, and there is nothing on this planet that is as safe, warm, and grounding as a Mum hug.
Missing Mum is to be expected. Nine and a bit months on and I’m almost more frustrated that she’s missing out on stuff, than I am upset that she’s gone. I get angry. Cancer sucks, in a big way. I want to shout and scream at it for destroying her body and taking away her life, but there is no point in that because cancer wouldn’t hear or care. I’m frustrated that she’s not here when I need her. Sometimes I get mad at her for leaving life, even though I know it wasn’t her fault or her choice. I often want to throw a tantrum at the injustice of it all. Or to run and run until my body burns and I can focus on external pain, rather than the internal pain I feel. I want my chest to burn from being alive, not from the pain of someone being dead. I want Mum back.
I’m floating around. Bouncing backwards and forwards like a ball stuck in a pinball machine. I feel like I’m flying away and losing control and there is nobody to catch me and bring me back. I try to communicate things, but my words get stuck and lost and float away, unheard. Mum used to practically be able to read my mind (which I definitely was not a fan of at times!), but that seems to be a power that only Mums possess. It’s nobody’s fault but my own. It’s not that people aren’t listening or don’t care, it’s that I don’t have the words. I just miss her. I want my anchor back.