Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Saturday 14th February

People often have places that they go to so that they can ‘recharge their batteries’. I think that this can happen at any place, really, as long as there is a break from everyday stress involved and some form of relaxation happens.

We are incredibly lucky to have a number of places we go to to do just this:  Mabula, Sedgefield, Umdloti, East Lonon and, of course, the farm.

Because we go to all of the places regularly, it’s about more than just doing things that we don’t do in our ‘real lives’ – it’s also about the memories that make the place and also make each holiday seem to be part of a continuum.

The farm is different, though.  It’s not only about having been going there since we were born, or about all the holidays that just seem to roll into one, or about what happens on a particular visit, it’s also about the sense of family and history that the place holds for me. For all of us. The farm is where my roots are. In the last four-and-a-half years, it’s also about where Dad’s ashes are scattered. And it’s also going to be about Mum’s ashes.

This weekend at the farm is specifically so that we can scatter her ashes.

Today was the greatest fun. It was HOT, but we still walked all over the place. The girls and I had a swim in the river in a place we call ‘Fairy Dell’ and which Mum loved. We also went up the valley for a picnic, which is something we have not done for a while.

It was a good day, making good memories.

But it was without Mum.

It’s strange how I am completely fine with all of this and carry on doing what I would usually do without pining after Mum and, often, having her as a lovely part of my heart and memory, but not actively mourning her.

There’s just that sense of something missing, though.

Tomorrow, nearly 9 months after she left us, we will re-mobilise all the feelings in a moment of what is, I suppose, passage and even ritual. Our minister is with us at the farm and we will have a little service. I have absolutely no doubt that both Mum and Dad will be watching and approving. And mourning that we have to feel so much pain.

When I ran this morning, I could taste the chemo taste. I still don’t understand the physiological process (I don’t think even the docs would), but there is something about physical activity mobilising the taste. It didn’t last for long, though. I am also feeling so much less tired.

I am definitely healing.

So are we all, as we face this next step in dealing with Mum’s passing. We will say goodbye again, and yet we won’t. It is a step that has to be taken, but there is not final moment. We will all miss her forever and cannot, actually, say that final goodbye. She is alive forever in our hearts.

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