It's not just the fact that no-one was here for Mother's Day and I went on all day with doing just the normal things, it is not just the fact that I ring them and they rarely ring me but it is also the fact that until it happens to them they will not know how lonely being on your own as a late middle aged person is. No, no never. So I was sad on the actual day and still am in a way. Happy Mother's Day Mum would have sounded so good in the morning and sounded so silly at the end of the day when you hear it on a recorded message. It is pathetic really but I just want to scream: "Is this the best you can do?"
So you can see how I feel, I'm not hiding it from the widow and widowers and bereaved people on here because you understand. I do hide it from my peers. "How are the kids?" they ask. "Fine," I answer, "I was talking to....this past week and they are doing..." And I smile. What a hypocrite I really am. Why don't I tell them how I feel? We all know the answer to that, because they would not understand. How could they understand. I remember how often on the Lifeline (suicide line) phones I heard some elderly person say: "They have forgotten me after all I did for them." and I am starting to say that myself.
I really do need to get a life. I really do need to find things to do that I am happier doing. I really do need...well you know what I am talking about because a lot of you are probably saying the same thing. I need basically to find out what I want to do and do that. And two years and 8 months after the passing of my dear Ray I still do not know what that means. What do I want? I want someone with me to do all the things I had planned on doing and that does not look like it is going to happen any time soon so I need to cull that list down to the bare bones and ask myself what I want to be doing that can be done alone and with not a lot of money.
Life is not all about me. My next door neighbour is going through all the angst of putting his ancient father who has lived with him for the past 18 months into care. The dear old soul can really not walk independently now and has had falls and doesn't eat much, wants to sleep all day, is subject to infections etc and it is obvious that he needs full-time care but the decision is still hard, so a banging on the front door means my neighbour wants to discuss this with me. For me that is recalling the angst I felt when I made that decision myself about my own mother 14 years ago now. We all have those buttons that get pushed from time to time. I can't tell him to go away as he has no-one else who would understand to tell but I will be glad when it is over.
And of course we are heading into winter so short colder windier days, the deceptive sunshine that seems strong but has no warmth in it when I go outside to sun bathe. The neighbourhood starts to look deserted with closed curtains and shut doors so even if I do go for a walk there in no-one to talk to whereas in summer they are all out in their front gardens, in winter they are all snuggled down with their families around them and us more senior widows are on our own. Poor, poor pitiful me.
So off I have to go, armed with a big smile, doing my hospital visits, cheering up the old and lonely in the nursing home, Sue on the job. Wishing I was somewhere else but doing the rounds of what is my duty in the church. Does it come across okay? Apparently so, they are pleased to see someone come in to push the boredom and isolation away, to reassure them that they are not forgotten that someone has remembered them. And they, also ancient widows, will smile and tell me yes, their son did ring on Mother's Day, of course it would have been wonderful if he had actually come for a visit but these young people, they are always so busy you know (selfish) and so he couldn't manage to come up from Sydney this time. And I will see tears in her eyes that reflect my own.
Public holidays and sentimental holidays are hard on widows and widowers. We all remember back to when we were important to others, when the kids feted us and spoilt us and made us feel special, or maybe that never really happened that way and we just rolled several events into one and it seemed like they did. Because if they are selfish now they were probably selfish back then but we just passed it off with a smile and let them get away with it. I guess we reap what we sow.