How to live without a mother

So okay my mom taught me a lot of things. One thing she didn’t teach me was how to live without her. Just a little bit over an hour ago I was telling my best friend how much I missed my mom. It’s not something I expect anyone to understand or relate to. So these are some pointers you can think about. If you have any tips you can send them my way.

I write this post because last week I was in Sydney, and every store I went to had posters of what to gift a mother for Mother’s Day. I was at first going.. okay, this is like Valentine’s Day.. very commercialised.. I get it, but after a while it started punching my gut, my throat, possibly my kidneys (both of them) so suddenly I was miserable. But I can be quite a determined sonofagun and I refuse to be too miserable.

Take baby steps

I did not feel any sadness or loss up to two weeks after my mom died, but it finally sank in for me. I noticed certain things in my behaviour (I can be pretty extreme in my moods) after that. Some of my friends and colleagues have mentioned ‘patience’ and ‘positivity’ a lot. These two things do not come naturally to me, so I try to remember that, and take it one day at a time. It helps when I force myself to smile. I also use combat classes (designed for women!) when I know I need the extra-happy feeling. When I go for a 50-minute high intensity combat class at 7pm, the ‘drug’ wears off around 4pm the next day. I’ll take what I can at this point.

Occupy yourself with activities (better yet, find new hobbies)

This seems like a no-brainer. I have a lot of days I feel like doing nothing except just Netflix. This includes days I am at work. Some days I am very inspired. So on days like that I am out in the gym, I go to a group exercise, and I meet people. I don’t guarantee that you won’t come home and bawl your eyes out (because it has happened to me lots), but at least your time is occupied for a few hours. I usually do this to tire myself out so that at the end of the day, I just take a shower and go right to bed.

Ask for help

I am lucky my network is wide enough. I have friends who take me dancing. I have friends who stay up entertaining me when it gets really tough. I have friends who lunch with me when I need company. All this would not be possible if 1) they do not have big hearts, and 2) if I did not ask for help.

The issue is I am naturally aloof. I don’t really talk about feelings to people I do not feel close to. I realised I was also always hesitant to ask for help. But I stopped that and now tell my friends when I need extra support (like a great bra!) and so far have been #blessed with kind souls. It helps a little especially on days where I really need extra care.

I also try my hardest not to impose on my friends (sorry John!) so I am thankful for that emo support hotline that calls me every now and then to make sure I don’t want to jump off a building. I have reassured them a few times I would choose carbon monoxide poisoning if I ever want to do that. All right I am really just kidding! But talk to someone trained to help others in similar situations.

Take care of yourself

Exercise. Read. Eat healthy. Get enough rest. Be with people when you need company. Don’t be with people when you need a timeout.

I try to do all that. But it is tough sometimes! As a treat I sometimes buy chocolate and eat.

Experience new things

This is a bit tough for me because I think I’ve tried most things twice and Singapore is not exactly so forward or ahead of the trend. So things get boring quick.

What I am sad about is, my mom was my life and I have some guilt about making new memories without her. I think it is natural, because whenever I was into something when she was still around, I made her invest!

Whenever I see adverts for interesting things/activities these days I try to try them out. Sometimes laziness trumps, but again, just take some time. You might even enjoy yourself, or find a new hobby in the process.

I believe this whole grieving is a lifelong process. I try not to be too hard on myself. Some days I am successful. Some days I feel defeated. But the only thing that keeps me going on is the realisation that I have to be responsible for my life, and to be happy and at peace I need to alter certain parts of my lifestyle and quit whining so much.

Have a great weekend, to whoever is reading.

I love you, Mommy and Happy Mother’s Day. ❤️❤️

What’s Been Happening

To make a long story shorter, I’ll do this in bullet point form. We are gonna see April soon, and my last post was in January.. and a lot of things happened between then and now.

  • My mom passed away in mid-February. I considered writing a post about her but my worries were many; anything I wrote then would have been too little, or too much, and then I went through a period I didn’t want to think about it, and then I also went through a period where her death was all I thought about. There was no point writing about the memories. I am in general not a sad person, nor an extremely cheerful one.. stoic maybe, troubled maybe, but sad and/or pathetic aren’t words I’d use to describe myself. It has been quite difficult to adjust especially when many rituals are gone: an example is in the mornings before leaving the house for work, I’d be in my underwear looking for clothes to wear while having entire conversations with her. This would go on for about 40 minutes before I finally kissed her goodbye and said things like ‘I will miss you’ or we’d go back and forth with I love yous. So the first day back at work was tough. I remember just sitting there staring at my computer the whole morning trying to process. It has been getting better lately, but I still have moments where I would curl into a fetal position and just cry. These moments are unexpected and sometimes triggered by something totally random.
  • Leading up to my mom’s death I was a mess. John was very supportive, so was Su. There were a lot of moments that frustrated me. I had a relative try taking photos of my mom with tubes all over her body. I of course spoke up and told her I’d prefer if she didn’t post anything on social media. I don’t normally give a fuck what people post on Facebook, there’s always an unfollow button and no hard feelings, but this was my mother. I’d never do this to anyone’s mother or for that matter, anyone. Apparently speaking up was not a positive thing to do because the culprit (haha) did not attend my mom’s funeral. If she needed content to boost likes or engagement on her Facebook I’d gladly share ideas. I also didn’t care if she didn’t attend the funeral. I would however prefer if my mom dying weren’t the subject of someone’s Facebook post.
  • I also had people who tried to demonstrate they understood my culture, but there is a difference between cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity. I don’t really care if you know certain things about my culture, because half the time I don’t even know about them.. or practise.
  • A colleague of mine lent me two books to read. They’re on business and motivation. I have really short attention span these days, and getting motivated is the least of my concerns, so maybe I should have mentioned it’d be a while before the books made their way back to his hands. Reading diet really unhealthy these days, so I try to compensate by reading articles on the www.
  • Told John a while ago about how-to books that I read. Usually I know the ‘what’ of things. Books usually explain the ‘what’ clearly. But most fail at the ‘how’, which is quite funny (crinkle nose) because that’s kinda the whole point I bought the books in the first place.
  • My brother and I are working on writing a book together as a tribute to our mom. Lately I’ve been busy at work, so this is the weekend leading up to Easter so I have an extra off day and plenty of time to work out the first steps to actually writing the book, but all I’ve done so far is eat. I have a book on my lap now but I am not sure if I’d doze off in a couple of minutes. 🌝

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading, whoever you are. ❤️