Whilst I do attribute some of my mental health issues to personal things that went on before mum died, most of which is probably far too personal for me to ever share, most of what has contributed to my deteriorating mental health is down to what happened on 1st October 2014- the day I lost my Mum.
30th September 2014-
It was the night before my first lecture of my second year at university. I had just gotten a job transfer to a pub in Manchester and the 30th September was my first shift. I did my shift and phoned my mum- as I did most nights- but she wasn’t very well. She was complaining of a cold. This was not out of the ordinary for mum as she was a long term sufferer of depression which often manifested itself physically into little illnesses like the cold. Mum told me to phone dad instead and to phone her again the next day. We told each other ‘I love you’ and hung up. And that was that. Our last conversation.
1st October 2014-
Approximately 6am- My phone started ringing. This was odd as I had only just the night before changed my phone settings so that only pre-approved contacts could get through to me when my phone was on silent. It was my brother. Apparently there were paramedics and an ambulance at our house. As I said, Mum had suffered severely from depression and with that there had been incidents of self harm in the past. I assumed it was another self harm incident and the paramedics had come as a precaution. I told this to my brother. He went quiet and whispered, ‘Alice, I think Mum is dead’. I booked a train back to Newcastle and told him I’d be as soon as I could.
Probably about ten minutes later my phone started ringing again. I knew it must be serious as Dad would probably not have bothered phoning until later if it wasn’t. I think I knew right then, in my heart, that my Mum had died. I answered and Dad was quiet, ‘Alice………., your mum has died……….., I’m so sorry’. I can still hear this in my head constantly. My Dad’s broken voice. My Dad is your typical ‘Dad’. I’d never heard him cry before. This was so hard. I suddenly became very sensible and proactive telling him not to worry, everything would be fine and we’d get through this. Then I hung up. I have to do a sarcastic laugh at this. 2.5 years later and everything is not ‘fine’.
I remember suddenly feeling like I had been hit by a double decker bus. Reality hit. Mum was dead. My Mum, my best friend and confidant was dead. I was going to have to live the rest of my life without her. I started throwing random things into a suitcase. I looked around my room, I could not function enough to decide what to pack. I started crying. I went and frantically bashed on my housemate’s door. She had been out the night before with our friend (who had stayed over with her) and neither of them were answering the door. I texted my other housemate’s girlfriend- she is one of my best friend’s and was often awake early- who came to me immediately. Looking back I think I was so daft to text because I was worried of waking her up. She helped me pack. Her boyfriend, my housemate, had lost his mum many years ago. She asked me if she should get him but I didn’t want to upset him and in truth, I couldn’t accept that he and I now had this awful thing in common. I couldn’t face him. Then I hopped into a taxi and went home.
I remember crying the whole way home on the train. It was rush hour, so the train was packed and full of business people. I remember being very angry that not one person on that train even noticed that I was upset. They were so tied up in their own lives that they did not even notice the broken 19 year old on the train crying and weeping about the sudden death of her mother.
I got a taxi home from the train station. The taxi driver chatted to me cheerily, ‘so are you home from university then?’
‘How come? It must only be a week since term started. Visiting Mum cos you’re missing her?’
‘Yeah, that’s it’.
This was the first of many times I have went along and pretended that Mum was still alive in order to avoid an awkward conversation.
I don’t remember much else from this day apart from hugging my Dad and going to tell my Mum’s friend who lived round the corner. We also went to visit my nana and grandad to tell them. That was heartbreaking. They classed my mum as her daughter so they were understandably devastated.
The following few weeks seemed to pass in a blur.
My Mum’s death was very sudden and unexpected. Many people, including ourselves, speculated as to whether her death was suicide or not. As it happened, it wasn’t, but due to the circumstances, the coroner was informed and there was a post mortem.
Some things really hit a nerve and made the grief so real. Like the time I was in my Mum and Dad’s room and found one of the defibrillator stickers on the floor next to their bed that the paramedics had left from when they tried to resuscitate her. This took my breath away and broke me in two again.
The day my Mum died was hands down the worst day of my life. Her death ripped my heart in two and absolutely destroyed my life. This blog will document me as I try to mend my heart and piece my life back together.