My student years in Paris defined who I am today. The streets harboured my surreptitious kisses, those terraces hosted my tears after failed exams and my laughter with my friends who teased me about my Russian accent in French. I wasted my student stipend on Pierre Hermé macaroons consumed between lectures on a random bench at St Germain. It was with a view of the Tour Eiffel that I started my first ever internship at Radio France.
When I think of the people we grieve for, I'm always reminded of a quote from John Green's novel, Looking For Alaska, that seems to sum up my feelings on the subject: "Thomas Edison's last words were "It's very beautiful over there." I don't know where there is, but I believe it's somewhere, and I hope it's beautiful."
Last week, I sat down with someone and was airing some of my frustrations, they looked at me and basically said "Naomi, your Mum died last week". Mum died and my body is grieving. It's why some days feel like sludge. It's why I'm so tired all the time no matter how much I sleep. It's frustrating and annoying but it's how my life is.
Mum died on Friday. She had a 'good death'. Those in palliative medicine define a 'good death' as one where the dying person is symptom free, in the place they want to be, with the people they want to be with. Mum died symptom free, in our lounge, with Dad by her side. Saying 'Mum died' might seem blunt to some, but that's what happened. Mum worked in palliative medicine all of her life and as a family we've always spoken about death and end of life care openly and honestly, so it seems only appropriate that we continue that when discussing Mum's death.
Yesterday was some strange kind of anniversary. It marked three months since my husband died. Three months - where has that gone? Who would have thought I would have survived three months without him. Well I have, I am here, and although I'm getting by I'm certainly carrying round a huge, huge sadness that Roger isn't here too...
Like most of my friends, I waited till my mid thirties to procreate. My body was more than ready, but mentally I was just about there. Whatever medicine, or medics tell us, no woman can put down roots until she is ready. And at 35, I was only just about there, but I also knew the risks that being 'older' would bring with it.