DefTTC and I had another long awesome chat last night. This time about my Mom. My man is the most amazing and awesome therapist for me. He knows me so well and seems to know just how to bring out those buried feelings and help me to face those scary emotions.
A couple of people over the last week have suggested I see a therapist before and/or during our next IVF cycle. So DefTTC and I chatted about this. You see I have some concerns about seeing a psychologist. It seems to me that in my past the times I have become most depressed have been when I spent too much time in my own head, dredging up old feelings. And at the moment I am not depressed. Yes I am down, yes I have found the last couple of weeks hard, but this is normal – or it seems so to me. I think that under the circumstances it is okay to be badly disappointed and sad. And so I find myself very resistant to seeing a therapist.
The problem is that I have this feeling that until I can really lay my Mom to rest and deal with the ongoing feelings of guilt and disappointment that I have around her I will not have a successful cycle. Now I know with my logical mind that this is ridiculous. DefTTC has said I need to get over this feeling because the chances of laying all this to rest in even six weeks are pretty slim. And he says I am just setting myself up for feeling guilty if the next cycle doesn’t work. And I know he’s right, but I still feel like I need to deal with these things.
So there we lay last night talking about my Mom and some of my feelings and finally I started crying again. Not those heart-wrenching sobs, but more of a quiet weeping. And finally it occurred to me that I can’t fix our relationship anymore. I will never be able to achieve a ‘normal’ relationship with her. We will never get to a point where we can meet for a cup of coffee and have a real conversation about the things happening in our lives – oh how I have spent years dreaming of us getting to this place. What has happened has happened, what was was. And it really is time to say goodbye and move on.
So as you know we scattered my Mom’s ashes at the end of August. Before that I blogged about writing my mom a letter saying all those things I wanted to say, getting it all out. I planned to burn the letter and scatter the ashes with my Mom and let it all go. I started the letter, but with everything else going on I never did get to finish it. And after the scattering I looked at it again and decided I no longer wanted to write it all down. I just want to move on. I want to see the memories with beautiful rose tinted glasses. And so instead of that dreadful letter, I want to tell you about our beautiful goodbye to my Mom.
The day before the scattering my Mom’s nearest and dearest flew into Cape Town to be here for her send off. Actually my Dad had arrived in town a few days earlier. And so we decided to host a full on dinner party for everyone who was there for her scattering. I dug out my Mom’s old recipes (whenever anyone talks about my Mom they always talk about her amazing cooking) and got my aunt to send me one of my Gran’s old recipes (she too was best known for the most amazing meals!). And on the Friday we had such special family time baking and prepping. And it felt so awesome to be making something together that so honoured the memories of my Mom and Gran. There we were my Sister, my Dad, DefTTC and I peeling and chopping and weighing and baking. My MIL even popped in and joined in for a while. I guess I am so much like my Mom in that I love nothing better than feeding people and entertaining and some of my happiest memories are all about making or sharing food (no wonder I have a weight problem). We made my Mom’s famous Curried Butternut Soup (I even broke all instincts and actually followed her recipe). We also made her yummy lemon meringue pie – I don’t think my Mom had made that for me since I was a child, in fact I doubt she made it at all in the last decade or more of her life. I always remember how proud she would be when she put it in the fridge to set and was so chuffed with the perfect meringue peaks. And then for a true treat for the whole family I made my Gran’s Milk Tart. Trust me when I say there is no bigger pressure than making this for my Gran’s family, well except maybe her Sticky Corners Pudding. There is such a special flavour to her milk tart, a tiny taste and I will know whether she made it or not. And our tart turned out perfectly. We also pulled out one of our favourite recipes and made Lamb Shanks with rustic mash and veggies.
Dinner was such a perfect event. My mom would have absolutely loved it. We used the cutlery set she gave DefTTC and I as a wedding present, we used her champagne glasses. I made menus with dolphins on them (dolphins were my Mom’s favourite thing, she had around 100 items in her flat when we packed it up with dolphins on them or statues of dolphins and one of the highlights of her life was getting to finally swim with wild dolphins). We ate and laughed and remembered beautiful stories of my Mom’s life. And then at the end my Uncle brought out the bottle of Port which my Mom gave him for his birthday less than a month before she died and we all indulged. My uncle was the person my Mom was closest to in her life, a little older he was the big brother who took care of her. The whole evening was emotional and a little sad, but has also given me such an amazing memory to carry with me.
Saturday morning we got up, had breakfast and headed out to Cape Point to actually scatter the ashes. We stopped on the way to pick up my Mom’s best friend who had flow in for the day to be there. We all met at the point and decided to walk up. For those of you who have never been to Cape Point, it is a serious uphill walk, and I have to admit I really struggled, especially having just had the hysteroscopy two days before. At one point I walked ahead of everyone else and looked back at the faces of the people my Mom had loved so much and the beautiful vista of the Table Mountain range behind them and I thought how much she would have loved all these people together working hard and out of breath, just to honour her.
We found a stunning look-out point right near the top, with amazing views across to the actual point and into an isolated little bay with birds circling below us and a clear flat sea. I have been to Cape Point so many times over the years and have never seen the sea so calm. We took the ashes of my Mom’s cats with to scatter them with her and decided to scatter them first. My aunt stepped forward and said that a few days before coming down she was looking at her poetry book and it opened on a poem about cats. She decided it would be perfect to read out and so she ready it with a cracking voice and tears in her eyes. My Mom was completely fanatical about her cats. There were times I wondered if she didn’t love them more than me because they didn’t answer her back. One of the cats we scattered had originally been my cat and when I went overseas my Mom took her on and loved her and she slept in my Mom’s arms every night. I cannot begin to express how my Mom would have felt at having her family there giving her cats a beautiful send off right alongside her own.
And then with my Uncle’s hand on my shoulder, I leant over and scattered my Mom to the winds. Again my Aunt had had a beautiful idea that while we sprinkled the ashes we each just kept calling out the words which would remind us of my Mom. And so with words like, ‘family’, ‘lasagne’, ‘butternut soup’, ‘cats’, ‘dolphins’, ‘love’, ‘decorating’ and ‘passionate’ ringing in my ears I let her fly in the winds of the Cape her favourite place on earth. And all I could think was that I hoped she had finally found some peace. That she would rest in peace forever more in the arms of my Gran and Manny (my Mom’s boyfriend for 15 years). I felt that these two people who she lost over 15 years ago would be waiting for her and would take very special care of her.
And from there we all headed to Kalk Bay to have lunch. We sat in the restaurant on the harbour wall and looked out to sea. We ate seafood – again my Mom’s favourite and enjoyed each other’s company. And then someone said – look there are dolphins out there! And I burst into tears, knowing that this was the perfect end to a perfect send off.
And now I say goodbye to my Mother, I really do miss her and the hope that we could have once again become close.