My Mum’s kitchen calendar has always been a source of macabre amusement to me. It is littered with various circled dates some of which are appointments, some birthdays, some reminders of household tasks but then there are the “death” dates. These are the marked circles indicating when a loved one has died or would have been celebrating their birthday. In some cases not only is the date marked but what age the person would have been had they still been alive. Pretty pointless really when it reads, ‘ 13th October Nanny’s birthday. She would have been 132.’ Well she wouldn’t would she? Nobody would! I have asked my Mum why she feels the need to add these dates and “would have been” birthdays on her calendar but I am always left feeling like I am the unusual one. Each to their own I suppose but I can’t help but smile when I read ‘ Brandy ( the cat), would have been 36.’
The past is incredibly important to her and I can’t help but feel she is full of wishing she could turn the clock back to do things differently or see certain people again. Well I’m not totally without understanding of that and can empathise with the longing to speak to someone again, see them, hug them, smell them, just be near them but against all the instincts of my upbringing to live a large portion of my life in the past my journey since stopping drinking has been to work on staying present as much as I can. It’s not easy and takes practice but I feel that clearness of mind is helping me achieve that more each day. Why is it important for me to work on this? Is it so wrong to think back to times that I was happy in or see people that I loved? Well of course not but if we only thought about the positive past that would be fine but we don’t do we. We think about the negative too and sometimes it’s a natural thought process in order to make sense of our more immediate feelings but I find that I can dwell too much in them, especially when coupled with copious amounts of wine and vodka. Dwell- the word for me conjures up a sense of despair, woe and deep darkness. Maybe it’s because it contains the word ‘well’ and with that I imagine a long descent into a world below. When I was drinking I could find myself trapped by negatives feelings or situations that had gone before to the point that they became all consuming and didn’t allow me to move on in the here and now. I found myself emotionally stuck in the past because my alcohol anaesthetic had stifled any real progression so I am going to take ‘well’ and work with the words other meanings.
Well ( thesaurus): strong, together, blooming, fine, fit, flourishing, great, hardy, sound, chipper, alive and kicking, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed.
Life passed me by too much when I drank and I really never experienced the present. My Mum needs to do what comforts her and gives her meaning in her life but for me the only things marked on my calendar are future events. Things to work towards, to aim for, to benefit me or the kids lives, things to look forward to. I have my thoughts and feelings about past events or people that have been significant in my life and I miss them but I am blessed in having had them be part of my life and each day I wake up those positives are underpinning my very being as I first open my eyes and my feet reach the floor. I will let the happiness that they brought to my life be my guiding force to start a new day and not focus on the loss of them.
Ps 489 days
Pps Just for the record Alfred Lord Tenyson would have been 206 if he was still alive today. 😉