by KARA JOHN
On November 29th 2008 I stood outside the doors to my family’s church, about to walk down the aisle on my wedding day. Little did I know that exactly 3 years later to the day I would stand there again; 7 months pregnant with my first child, about to walk my mother’s coffin down the aisle at her funeral and soon to become “a Mum without a Mum”.
It is now 9 months since then and I have my beautiful daughter Alesia, named after my Mum and I have now started to reflect on my life with and without her.
From family and friends I have had constant sympathetic looks and extra offers of help and support because I don’t have my Mum around to help. I want to scream at them, “You think the tragedy here is I don’t have someone to give me motherly advice when I am a little lost? Or that my Mum isn’t here to help when I am behind in housework, pop down the street or give me a hug when I am over it all?” I am proud to say my Mum taught me to be resilient! Tough! That’s not why I miss the presence of my Mum!
What I didn’t understand before I gave birth was the complete miracle of the mother child bond. I only understood being a child. When I look at my daughter and I am filled with the most selfless and devotional love, I cry out in my mind: “Mum! Is this how much you loved me?!” The tragedy of my situation is only learning this after she had gone. I have missed sharing the gift of motherhood with my Mum.
My Mum, although extremely passionate if you were to have a debate with her, was notoriously bad at showing affection. I always resented the fact that my friends mothers would sweep their daughters in their arms in great big hugs, would go on outing with them and have D&M’s or chat about boys over a coffee.
I resented her for being so closed. After she had gone I was surprised to hear so many people talk about how close I was to her and what a special relationship we had, to be honest I thought they were just saying anything to make me feel better.
Then I had a closer look at our relationship with my very pragmatic and unemotional Mum. Everytime I moved house, she would make up a great big hamper of things for my pantry and laundry cupboard, I am talking about hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of shopping – that was her way of giving me a great big hug.
When I wanted to renovate, re-do my garden and even organise my cupboards, we would sit over note pads and draw sketches and argue for hours over the best way to attack the project – those were our D&M’s. I just never realised how similar and how close we were in our special way until now.
I do try and focus on the positives and keep on fighting (that’s what my Mum would do) and there are a lot of things I have to be thankful for.
She got to see me get married to my wonderful husband (I am sure there were times she wondered if she would ever see that happen!), we also had the chance to live with my parents while we went about building our dream house so I was able to spend quite a few precious months with her before she saw us move in.
But the most important thing I am thankful for, the thing that makes life almost OK without her is when she found out I was pregnant. She said to me, “Now… everything is complete” and I knew she was proud of me and felt her job as a mother was done.
Kara John is just a normal Mum juggling life, family and work and takes every opportunity to dance and sing like an idiot when no one is around.