('Will's Fire', July 2014)
In response to my piece on
'Midwifing the Death of My Father', Pauline Rose has offered this raw
and honest account of her feelings following the death of her beloved
mother-in-law, Janny. Few people talk about how much fire and heat
there is in grief and Pauline has captured it here. When we grieve we
burn and, as we burn, we remember and we are transformed...
With gratitude to Pauline for her sharing and to Janny for inspiring love such as this.
My mother in law is dead.
She died a couple of months ago and it still doesn't seem real. I see
her everywhere; in the shop pushing a trolley, in the street chatting
to someone, at bus stops, and driving cars. She is everywhere, every
day. And then in my dreams, twice since she died. The last time we
were at a party together, chatting like old times, laughing together.
But really she is dead.
All changes, nobody told me
that before. When someone dies, all changes, not just around you but
inside too. Why didn't someone tell me that? I knew that I would miss
her, knew that there would be mourning and sadness, but this? People
keep these things secret for some reason, don't want to frighten you
or perhaps most people don't allow the change and just pretend
everything is the same. I know someone like that I think. But I have
The anger is like a hot
flood of lava rushing through my soul and burning my heart. The
anger is stoked by others and myself to take our minds off the
No man's land is a
dangerous place to be, must keep your wits about you and look out for
the people in the trenches. The trenchant. They will tell you that
NOTHING HAS CHANGED. They will lie to you, they are cowards. I don't
do as I am told. So I wander round in the no man's land looking for
So Janny IS dead, can't
talk to her anymore, no silly chats or deep conversation. No pieces
of her mind to hear, no compassionate hugs, no joy in my
achievements, no interest in the everyday of my being a mother. How
could I fail to be metamorphosed by her leaving. The truth is that I
love the change in myself; it wouldn't have happened without her
dying. But I want her back alive more than anything right now. It's a
paradox. Same as in the hospital when I saw the beauty in death.
My Mother will die
someday. What will that be like I wonder? Will I change again, will
more lava flow? Will the anger erupt from the depths to burn me all