The bubbly sweet or dry stuff we associate with celebrations, champagne. Recently a friend of mine had some really good news, and I immediately felt like popping a celebratory bottle of bubbles to help celebrate. But no, not this time, I am off the booze. I am okay with that. I have drunk enough champagne in my life to know what it tastes like; I will use my memory skills to remember it for now.
On the morning of my Mums funeral I drank two bottles of champagne. I am not kidding. I am embarrassed to admit it but it was my coping strategy to deal with the horrific finality of my beautiful Mum. I surprised myself how much I drank really; it didn’t seem to even touch the sides. I was emotional, but appeared strong and tough on the outside, but really, quite honestly I was crumbling, and shocked and overwhelmed and I really could not quite fathom that my delightful bright spark of a Mum now lay as a corpse in a box, her spirit long gone. Well actually I felt her spirit all around us in the place of the funeral, apparently spirits do come along to see who makes it to your funeral.
It felt the same when my Dad passed too, there he was looking at me from the isle of the church, as I gave his farewell speech. His body was also crammed into a box on the stage, ill fitting, his giant previous life like form, looking so out of place in that square overpriced box.
But back to champagne. We drink it to celebrate life, happiness and good times. I literally could not drink champagne for a long time after my Mum died, I had no reason to celebrate. My life force had temporarily left me, along with the smoke of my parents cremated bodies. Now that is an awful thought. But it is true.
I hold onto their memories in my mind with brute force, clenching tight, like I would my Dads crisp shirt when he picked me up and held me tight as a small child. I would tweak the fabric between my thumb and forefinger, wishing to stay molded to him, close, safe in his loving arms.
I wanted to celebrate my Mums life on the day of her funeral. It was not about me at all, my grief and tears and sadness would come later, as it surely did, and still does. On that one day, I wanted to stand tall and give my Mum a positive, fun, happy and celebratory send off. I asked everyone to dress in green or colour and wear something my Mum had made them. It was amazing to see so many of the treasures she had gifted over the years. My Mum was a giver, she loved giving people gifts expecting nothing in return but love and kindness. She was the most amazing woman. Tears spring to my eyes with fond thoughts of her. I miss her so much.
I have stayed away from drinking significantly over the last few years, to help process my grief with a clear head, and for a number of other very positive reasons. Finally, however, I am feeling like I want to celebrate life again. And this I realise is a very good thing.
For no particular reason, my Mum and I would celebrate life. We would celebrate the minor things, the major things and simply just because we could. Way before her diagnosis of Lung Cancer, we managed to squeeze in lots of joyful times, happiness and celebrations. We are both happy, vivacious, loving and joyful people. Celebrating is easy when you are surrounded by love. Off we would go and buy our favourite German strawberry champagne, and chink our glasses together in merriment; giggling, laughing and feeling great. I would prepare a lavish tasty meal and we would enjoy life, being together, the simple pleasures. I miss those times together, but I keep them stored in my memory and remember them over and over, we certainly made some great memories together.
Life is for living, life is for celebrating as much as we can. Even when it appears there is little to celebrate, feel joy for the goodness around you, the loved ones in front of you, the healthy food we eat, anything that makes you feel amazing. And if you still pull up short, perhaps it is time to rethink your life and create the amazing life you have always dreamed about. We only have so much time, so get out there and make your dreams a reality. And start celebrating!
Cheers, Anita xx