Housekeeper’s Diary


Dream Diary

My Diary of thoughts….

If grief can be suspended I had managed it magnificently until now. If grief can be denied then I have been doing a fine job. But now it is December and my Mum is everywhere. In my head. In my dream diary. Browsing around my favorite stores, so I almost instinctively follow every blonde woman I see just in case she is merely in a parallel universe, simply unable to reach us.

Though my own tree is not yet up, last week I decorated my Dads with all the decorations my Mum had collected over the years. A poignant hour in which my Dad sat absolutely still with a headache and I let tears fall down my face as I found an ornament in the shape of a family tree, inscribed with all our names.

This Christmas hurts. I have become paralysed by it. Not enough presents bought yet. No tree here, for we will be moving into my Dad’s empty house next week and spending Christmas there, while he spends the holiday in my sister’s house down South, and as we need the house to be a blank canvas for potential buyers there didn’t seem any point in heading out to fetch a tree to stand alone in a cold empty house.

Truth is I do not know how to deal with this sudden rush of delayed grief. The old mainstays of extreme self-care seem to be failing me. No amount of words written on the page will bring her back. No baths scrumptiously scented with essential oils will turn back time. My laptop, my old friend, is suddenly something to be feared. Books no friends of mine at all. The doctor proffers sleeping tablets, Ste on permanent stand-by with hugs.

Perhaps this is all about change. On parents evening this week I was told by quite the kindest teachers in the world, that Finley isn’t coping. That it is clear that his Sensory Processing Disorder, so manageable in primary school is now a distinct barrier to his high school education: that they cannot read his writing, that he will need to work on a computer, that though he is a beautiful, intelligent child, he cannot keep still,  he has reached new heights of dis-organization and his presentation is disastrous. Things will have to change if he is to succeed to his full potential.

Change. I am moving house. BrocanteHome is now a Limited Company and it too has to change to incorporate new lines of business if it is to be financially viable at a time when the writing that has long sustained us seems once again impossible. Ste will be moving in permanently. My lovely Finley will have to be carted back to occupational therapy and I have had to tell him that Santa doesn’t exist. Every other weekend I am a Step-Mum. A Mum without a Mum of my own. Every aspect of my life suddenly in need of a re-think at a time when I can barely think at all.

And so I think an absence of thinking might just be the way forward. A week or two off from the bossy, disappointed voices in my head. Recognition of and absorption in my sadness and permission finally granted to grieve. Closure on a year I could not live through again.

For this too will pass. Never again will I have to live through the first Christmas without my Mum, the last Christmas in a house I have loved for sixteen years. 

And in the meantime I need to get on with creating a Christmas my new little family will adore. I may be a Mum without a Mum, but I am still a Mum and it is my job to get our very own little Christmas party started…


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8 comments on “Housekeeper’s Diary

  1. I’ve never met you Alison, but wish I could give you a hug. Sometimes the best we can do is all we can do, and that’s okay. I have to tell myself that often, when the wheels seem to be falling off the wagon. I’ve probably followed your blog so long because I feel a little like you – I like to plan everything out, feel on top of it all, have a strategy for dealing with everything, and when I don’t, when all control is gone, oooh… scary. But those can also be the most real, the raw, the most deep, the most precious times. This Christmas may hold some of your most beautiful moments, tiny sparkling diamonds in the midst of all the change.

  2. Barbara D. on said:

    Christmas can be bittersweet, can’t it. My mother passed away on December 17 many years ago. My first thought was to cancel Christmas but I quickly tossed that idea away. So we pushed on with tree and decorations and gifts although not on as grand a scale as previous years. I don;t think she would have wanted Christmas “cancelled”. 29 years later as I decorate my tree with ornaments from my childhood I think back and am thankful for the memories of Christmas with her. Someone once said….as long as you have your memories your mom is stilll in your heart….

  3. Theresa on said:

    You will get through this time, brave girl, and will have grown so much because of it. Everything you’re going through is normal and valid and part of your grieving process.Try to be gentle with yourself and remember that you have so many people here to support you. I’m sending you lots and lots of love – thank you for writing with such honesty.

  4. Cathy Cochran on said:

    18 years ago I lost my husband of 10 years in a car accident and we had two small daughters! It was like being kicked in the stomach and head at the same time! A few months later and not looking but I met and fell in love with a wonderful man and 6 months later moved 4 hours away from the town I’d known for 27 years, with a new guy and still grieving for my late husband! A new home, a new town, new schools, two new step daughters, grief and trying to get thru the holidays as well! I did it and it was the best thing that ever happened to me! We are married now and have been together for 18 years, we have four beautiful dauthers and 7 grand kids! I am nowhere as smart and capable as you so I tell you all of this in order to give you some courage and tell you that all of us here know you can do this! Just take one day, one obstacle at the time and eventually the pieces will all fall together and before you know it, you will have started a new and wonderful life! Good luck with everything and I will keep you (and your Dad) in my thoughts and prayers! And as always we look forward to hearing from you at the first of the year! Thank you for all you do for us! Hope you have a blessed and very Merry Christmas! *Hugs*

  5. Delores on said:

    Love your heartfelt thoughts and words . I recognise your huge sadness at this poignant time . I’m sending you lots and lots of love for a wonderful Christmas for you Finn and the new man in your life ???.

  6. My heart hurts for you right now. I think just sitting with your grief for a while will do you a lot of good. Nothing needs to be perfect. Be honest with your loved ones and let them know how much your hurting. Let yourself be taken care of for a change

  7. Alison, I am sad to read this and wish I could give you a big hug too. I think the first Christmas is the worst, the first everything is the worst. Just do what you can. You don’t have to do everything.

  8. jacqueline on said:

    My heart goes out to you I know what’s it’s like the first Xmas without your mam. I’ve just come to terms with Xmas this year. Although hard I do realise that I have to move forward but it still hurts. All my love
    Jacqueline Mcneill