Ten years ago today, while my beautiful Mum napped in her chair her heart beat it's last. She was 60 years of age, I was 28, and my son was not yet 1.
I wasn't there. I was at my own house eating smoked mackerel salad, listening to the 6 o'clock news from the TV in the other room, with Joseph eating spinach off my plate. On the news was the story of a child from Iraq who had been flown to Britain for operations on his legs. Or her legs. I forget that particular detail.
I remember the phonecall I got at 9.30 that night from my brother-in-law. I remember the phrase "it's not good". I didn't know at the time what that phrase meant. It meant she was dead.
For some time afterwards I would wear her shoes, I would wear her cardigans and jumpers, I would sit next to my father in church, so there would be no empty space where she should have been. I adopted her turns of phrase, her intonations, sang her songs, anything to keep her presence alive.
Ten years later none of us said anything. I've had a very heavy heart and a lot of private tears this week, but no conversations with my family about it. I'm not sure if that is odd. I have wanted to keep things around me quiet and manageable. Whether I am crying because I miss her, or because ten years is a significant amount of time for life to go on without her, or because she has missed so much, I don't know. All of these things, I suppose. And soon this intense period of sadness will pass away too, and things will carry on. But not yet.
I will keep things around me quiet and manageable for a little while yet.
'It is such a secret place, the land of tears.'