February is the month that can be Friend or Foe

1 Mar

Phew! A big sigh of relief…

I’m glad to see that February is now officially over. Not only is it a depressing month weather-wise, but it’s mentally draining for me too. I mean, it didn’t use to bother me, weather, but over the last 5 years, February has become a time to dwell on death, dying and remembrance.

As I said in a previous post, my father passed away in February 2008. He was 79.

But what I didn’t mention that my beloved mum passed away two years later on Friday 5 February at the age of 71.  I know the medical reasons for her passing but I like to think that she died of a broken heart. I know it’s difficult to imagine or live your life without your loved one. My parents were together for 54 years. Like most relationships, theirs was an emotional rollercoaster, with all of life’s ups and downs, highs and lows.

When dad passed away, I know my mum would pine for him in her own way and say that, however he appeared to others, good or bad, he was her life, husband and soulmate. She didn’t know any other. She had no wish or desire to. Mum was very young when they married. Dad was 10 years older…She didn’t want a life on her own. She didn’t want to be left alone. My Mum used to say that she dreamed about him every night, could hear his voice calling or could feel his presence in her room. When she didn’t receive any of those signs or feelings, she used to get upset or disheartened and ask why or what have I done to deserve this? Why had he deserted her? But there were other times when she would say that she spoke to dad in her thoughts at night, or pray to him and hope he would answer her prayers. She would pray that he would come and take her away. She would say that she was waiting for him or she would soon join him and looked forward to that day when they would be together again…

The days when my parents were alive spin around in my head, and it’s hard to shake off…I have my memories and they can either put me at ease or trigger off tears…

I dread the month of February now. Maybe ‘dread’ is too strong a word but I don’t feel so much ‘alive’ or ‘passionate’ about it as much as I used to. Maybe I’m just full of anxiety. I used to look forward to it because it used to mean Valentine’s Day was here (I know it’s overtly commercial and a monetary issue) and it was a month away from my birthday.

So, one of the days at the beginning of February is an anniversary, mid-February is a “pretend all is good and well in my life’ day, with me sharing cards and a meal with my partner and trying to make it a good a day as possible, and then I have noticed or become more aware that I tend to drop into a slight depression or develop morbid thoughts when considering that another anniversary is due at the end of the month. Not only that, but with my birthday approaching, another celebration that I used to enjoy very much, which I know is a sign that I am getting older although I still feel young, it makes me very much aware that I am spending more years away from my parents when they were alive and losing sight of how things used to be.

Every year, since my parents passed away, I say I will try and fix it, try and change or reimagine my life or daily ritual in a different way. But every year, without fail, no matter what I say or do, February remains  the month of strong emotions, significant life events or the month I lost my parents. Nothing will ever change that. Nothing will bring them back. All I know is that my life HAS to go on and I shall cherish and remember my parents forever.

Death comes to everyone. We know that. But the life we lead, the moments we share with loved ones, store them and hold them, make the most of the days you have with your parents. As they grow older, they might become sick, frail, infirm, argumentative, or if they are of another age or generation, you might clash over issues like teenage rebellion, parenting, diets, job or college choices…I’ve heard some people say  I wish my parents were dead or out of my life or my mum/dad is a bitch/bastard/ evil etc. I look at them and think, you wish them gone, and if you knew what destruction it brings, the dischord within siblings or family life, the major feelings of loss and disorientation, the constant “what if’s and If only…”, the scenes played over and over again over the years, images and flashbacks, triggers and stimuli that wash over you for no apparent reason, the yearning and comfort required, the “I wished I paid more attention to mum’s recipe or wish I’d written that recipe down or I should’ve gone with dad to New York or India or to that party…”. The regrets, the pain and the heartache is unbearable and sometimes without justification.

Grief and bereavement knows no bounds.

I would do anything to have my parents back. I would want them back, tell them that I loved them everyday and pay more attention to what they said  to me.

I miss my parents and even now, as I type, dislike/despise/hate the month of February  for being the month which took my parents away.

 

The Learned Kat

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