Reflective Journal

Remember when…

This wasn’t the way life was supposed to be. As I drive past where you reside on this crisp September evening, I slow down to feel closer to you. I see the lights on, I pause and then I feel my heart break as I drive away, leaving you all alone. I wish I could stop by, give you a hug and feel all the things I wish I felt, but I know in stepping one step closer to you I chance blurring the lines of my reality.

You see every day feels like a lingering, painful ache. Memories resurface, muddled and bewildering, and often I struggle to discern what was real and what my subconscious made up to feel safe.

When I think of you I think of, fast driving, loud music, screaming, shouting, tears and chaos but when I feel you I recall rainy days, romantic films, cinema trips, Italian restaurants, candles and expensive perfume and most of all I feel my connection to you, as my mum.

Life wasn’t supposed to be this way. I wasn’t supposed to be your shoulder to cry on, your hand to hold, and your missing piece. You parentified your child, and whilst I don’t blame you, I can’t help but feel robbed. The days missed in a childhood already too short, cleaning, comforting you and walking home when you forgot to turn up at the school gates; hours of innocence that will never return.

As an adult things were supposed to be different. We were supposed to cherish the fleeting moments we did share as mother and daughter, the brief moments in time where I felt you were truly mine.

I often have imaginary conversations in my head, all the things I would of said if you would hear it. I call these moments the “remember whens”.

Remember when we went to Cornwall camping, moved our air mattress outdoors, gazed at shooting stars, and laughed as you lit a floating lantern, nearly setting our whole camp ablaze?

Remember when you took me to The Trafford centre to buy clothes before a school trip and we made a pact to avoid telling dad how much you spent on me?

Remember when you promised me a dog if I won the public speaking competition, and so we brought home our Lana without telling anyone else in the family?

Remember when we went to Bolton Abbey and you fell over running across a wooden beam as you tried to show off you athletic skills?

I could continue with countless “remember whens,” but in recent years, I sense these moments slipping away. You’re in a different mental space now, present but not quite the same. Initiating these conversations in person would likely lead to disagreements and conflicts. You might even request your transcripts randomly mid-conversation, and the innocence of our shared memories would be lost

I know deep down it’s not your fault, but I can’t escape the feeling of being robbed. Unintentionally, you’ve taken many moments from my life, but I can’t risk losing my “remember whens” because that might mean losing the essence of you.

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