Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 5th January

I know that my mother has gone. I was with her not long after she went. We all were. I have been to her funeral and mourned her for more than 7 months.

And yet I am absolutely serious when I say that I am fine with the whole thing and I didn’t even miss her on Christmas Day, because I know that she can’t have gone. She is still somehow just here.

Then, tonight, I was packing a mattress into the storeroom and it suddenly struck me that she really is gone and won’t ever be coming back.

We leave Sedge tomorrow and I think I have been quite retrospective for the last few days because of it. Also, I am feeling so well and know that, on Friday, I have to begin the whole cycle again, which really upsets me. This has also contributed to the retrospection and philosophical approach of the last few days.

So, there I am, schlepping this mattress across beach tents and sundry when I just had this moment of realisation: Mum has gone and will not be doing this, organizing Sedge again. She won’t be in the garden, in the house, showing us where things go etc etc. And I sat down on the floor and howled.

Strange things, we humans.

So much seems to be have gone wrong at home – and still is going wrong – that it is time to go home. I could stay here forever, practically, but I think everyone gets a time when home is best and real life does have to go on.

This has been one of the shortest beach holidays we have had for a long time. It has been really good, though. I think having various family members coming to share the house with us in relays has protracted the feeling. And has made it fun.

It really feels like a long time ago that Dave was here and the time with him feels like much longer than four days.

Such is the nature of holidays, especially to places we are so familiar with.

We will leave with the promise to ourselves to come back as soon and as often as we can. This is not always just when we want it to be. As Dani said, though, we do usually do that.

I have found myself to be a little ‘braver’ when it comes to going into coldish water this holiday. I think this is partly due to the cancer thing. Perhaps I just want to prove that I am not a wus after all, or it’s just made me approach life a little differently.

Everything has it’s ‘other’ spin.

So, today we drive, later this week I have my last chemo. Journeys. All to be taken step-by-step (or kilometre by kilometre) and all leading to something new.

I realised tonight, too, that the effects of last year and all the kak that happened are far from over. Many of them never will be.

We can all only continue to help each other to build, though, and to continue to work through things as they hit us. Fortunately, this is usually not all of us at the same time.

Holidays build spirit and they build family. The strongest unit possible.

Mum and Dad built an extremely strong family. Sedge, to me, is somehow a symbol of part of that. The two will always be inextricably intertwined.

And will always be part of how we build ourselves.

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