It’s been nine years since the hardest day in my life. Nine years since my mother died in a hospital in Imperia, Italy. In previous years, I wrote about those last few days, but this year I find myself considering how my feelings regarding her death has changed over time.
My sadness has definitely changed. Initially it was a destructive inferno, now it’s a comforting campfire. It has matured. In the years after my mother’s death I felt like an injustice was done, and my tears came in protest to what happened; a rejection of her death, and a refusal to accept that she was gone. Now I have accepted that she’s gone, and my tears are an acknowledgement of my loss and how much she meant and continues to mean to me.
I couldn’t have done it without the help of my brother and sister, who are the biggest gifts my mother ever gave me, and who have helped calm that inferno and allowed me to temper the sadness. Ruurd, Moulsari, Joasia and Eva also played an important part in getting me to where I am today.
And yet, when I am by myself and I think back to the last few days of her life, there is something that scratches at the back of my subconsciousness. An irritant that pokes at me and tells me that I failed her my letting her suffer in that hospital. That I should have done more or done something differently. When think about that and I close my eyes I am assaulted by images of my mother in distress. It used to be that those images would come to me uninvited. So I suppose there is improvement there too.