In the early hours of last Saturday morning my grandmother died. She was in her late 80’s and had been unwell and in a nursing home for many years. We were not particularly close, and had at times a strange relationship, she was however family and it is the end of an era.
Death is a certainty in life. There is nothing that anyone can do to escape it. We will all die. Some sooner rather than later. Some expected, some unexpected.
When I found out about my Grandma’s death I of course had a little cry. My eldest came into me and asked me what was wrong and I told her. She never knew her Great-Grandmother so her death means little to her but she does understand the concept of death.
We went on to have a long conversation about the people important people in her life dying. Quite an advanced conversation for a 5 and a half year old to have.
As I went about the tasks of my weekend without the girls in tow, I was thinking about life and death and what it all means. I am not a religious person and I don’t believe in an afterlife as such. I believe that what counts is what we do with the time that we have here on this planet, between when we are born and when we will die.
Death reminds us all of the finality of life, however it does not have to be something that tears us down an causes depression, sadness and an attitude of “who cares, we’re all going to die anyway”. Facing death makes me a better parent and I’d like to share my thoughts from the weekend with you all.
1. Every day matters
Every single day is precious. Every minute that we have with our family, our friends, all the loved ones in our lives matter. There is always the potential that it could be taken away from us in an instant so it is crucial as a mum to make every moment count.
Is a perfectly clean house that important? Or is taking the time out to play and make some mess and some memories with your kids more important? Should you bother with the argument over eating those last two mouthfuls of dinner? Or do you just pick your battles and let your child forgo their broccoli for tonight.
Yes there must be a balance between chores and the daily tasks of living but every single one of them can be made FUN! Make a game out of picking up the toys. See who can spot the most green vegetables at the supermarket. Have the kids help with the laundry, or the cooking or the gardening. Laugh and make memories.
2. The type of mum you are matters
When we die we will all ask ourselves if I was a good enough mum. You do not want to spend those last few moments thinking that you should have or wanted to do a better job. Your kids may remember you as the strict mum who always was grumpy and yelled at them – do you want that? Or do you want to be remembered as the mum who was involved, always there for her kids, would listen to the endless stories and get excited over every artwork or collected leaf from the garden?
The choice is yours. You don’t have to go on being the type of mum that you don’t want to be. If you want to be remembered differently that you would currently, then take action and change! You’re an adult – your behaviour is 100% within your own control.
3. Tell everyone that you love them
We know that we love the people who are in our lives. But do you tell them enough? Do they know WHY you love them and what makes them special to you? You may tell your kids, but do you tell your family? Your parents? Your friends? If you haven’t recently – then please, go do it today. People won’t know how important they are to you unless you tell them.
4. It’s the small moments that count
It’s wonderful to be able to take our children on wonderful holidays, buy them toys, or have special outings all the time, however it’s the little things that matter more. It’s the daily cuddles, reading the stories, playing games, the laughter and even the tears that create the bond that lasts a lifetime.
The small things happen when we slow down. When we say no to going to another birthday party or to another gathering that we don’t really want to be at. Life is incredibly fast and unless we take conscious action to pause and enjoy now then it will have slipped buy too quickly. Every parent knows how fast life goes by and how quickly our children grow up. Don’t miss it running around from activity to activity.
If you’re reading this today then I want you to go and tell the people in your life how much they mean to you, how much you love them. Give your kids an extra big cuddle – even if they resist it! And love yourself today. Life is too short to be self-critical an negative. Be your best friend, not your enemy. Stand out in the sunshine. Laugh. Cry.
Be the type of person, the type of mum that you want to be!
Enjoy the moment and the day because you never know what will be coming next.