We recently returned from our first family holiday without my mum.
Coming back to what will come to be known as our normal life was exceptionally difficult.
Here, at home, while she is constantly in my thoughts, there are a myriad of things to distract me from what my reality now is, a myriad of things tearing me away from dark thoughts. On the ship, cruising in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do but think, read, sleep and eat, my thoughts were always with her, every minute, every hour, every day.
She would have loved everything about that holiday. She would have grabbed every show, every quiz and every activity by the hand and participated in the lot.
She would have indulged in the food, and eaten all the milky desserts and the cheese that was on display, despite being lactose intolerant – because who the hell cares when it comes to enjoying life.
She would have been immersed in the water, trying to escape the uncomfortable heat.
She would have scurried after her two-year-old grandson as he took control of the baby pool, declaring it his and his alone where no one else was allowed to slide down his precious dolphin slide.
She would have been the first on the sand, commandeering our spot before rushing into the clear, blue water to float on its surface.
But most of all, she would have relished in the fact that her beloved family was together, 24 hours a day.
Every moment, I thought of how we needed this holiday. How horrific the past two years have been for us all. How terrifying it is to settle thoughts of life without her. Yet every moment I thought of how she needed this holiday. I thought of how we needed this holiday with her.
I know there will be hundreds of holidays without her. I know there will be loads of memories that we’ll have to create without her. I know that there are a lot of things that are coming my way that I’ll have to handle without her on speed dial. And while ‘normal’ life here keeps me constantly distracted, there’s no running away from that.
I miss my mother every day. And I will continue to miss her every day for the rest of my life. Perhaps what was most hard about our holiday is that family holidays are meant to be taken together, with the whole family in tow. For us, someone was missing.