Rabbetting On: 'Dear mum it's been three years since you died - here's what you've missed'

Three years on I've been thinking about what I'd say to my mum if I had the chance Three years on I've been thinking about what I'd say to my mum if I had the chance
Three years on I've been thinking about what I'd say to my mum if I had the chance | Abigail Rabbett
Everything I'd tell my mum if I had 10 minutes alone with her again

I've been flip-flopping about whether it's appropriate to write this column for a little while now but I've concluded that if my gut tells me to write something, there's usually a reason for it. It's been a tough one to put into words / full sentences, but I've tried to retain some of that Rabbetting On repartee we've come to know and love.

So here goes nothing...

Three years ago today (December 8, 2020) my mum died. That's three cars, three houses, four jobs, two boyfriends, and three Christmases since I last spoke to the woman who birthed me.

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It's been a complicated three years with lots of big moments - some joyous some devastating. I think it's fair to say that I'm thoroughly entrenched in the 'angry phase' of grief and I'd be exceptionally surprised if that changed any time soon. I've become accustomed to living with the blood-boiling emotions associated with losing a loved one and it can be taxing for those closest to me to navigate the mood swings that come with it.

In the lead-up to today's anniversary, I've been thinking a lot about what I'd tell my mum if I had just 10 minutes alone with her again. Of course, I 'speak out' to her most days but I'm referring to a real sit-down, cup-of-tea gossip session on the sofa.

Firstly I'd ask her if she's met Meat Loaf or the Queen and check if they are having wild parties in the sky every night. (I like to think so). Then I'd ask if it's her making dragonflies appear every time I need a hug (this seriously happens). And if she found it funny that I put a copy of Jaws and a portable DVD player in her coffin...

I'd tell her about the weird twinge in my foot and she'd have a go at me for "burning the candle at both ends", and spending too much time on my "bloody phone" - to which I'd sarcastically reply "That's not why my foot aches though is it mum?"

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I would tell her I became an editor not long after she died and it still breaks my heart she never got to see the dream become a reality. And that after all the years we spent thinking I'd never have kids, there are glimmers of hope for the future now but it breaks me that I'll have to face motherhood without her guidance.

I would tell her that plans for Ian's wedding are coming along nicely and that James' extension is finally done. That all the kids are amazing and the boys often sit and talk about their 'Granni'.

I would tell her that G and I finally moved in together but it ended ~ disastrously ~ and I took it very hard. Then I'd make her jealous by telling her about the amazing food Charlotte and I ate in Greece (moussaka was her favourite) and how we visited Pompeii and found idyllic secluded beaches in Spain.

I'd tell her about my wonderful new boyfriend Ken (there are too many good things to say) and how his lovely mum always makes sure I'm well-fed and being looked after.

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I would pull out a pen and paper and ask her to relay - in depth - her lasagne recipe, because no matter how hard any of us try, we can't seem to get it right. And she'd say "You need to cook the sauce out more Abigail."

I'd tell her that I've moved home - and the house isn't the same anymore. Sombrely adding that Dad and I are finding it quite hard to find a new routine now she's gone but we're trying. She'd give an all-knowing nod.

I'd tell her I still have bad dreams, panic attacks, and horrible flashbacks to the day she died and that I'm sorry the last thing I said to her while she was alive was "Yeah, whatever". Then apologise for rarely visiting her grave because I'm avoidant (she would be cross.) But then I'd remind her I keep her yellow raincoat in my wardrobe.

I would promise to get better at returning my auntie's calls and tell her I went for a curry with Mrs T (her best friend) who is missing her too. That the carols on the Green still go ahead and the Feast Day is still a hit with everyone in the village - but there is a noticeable void now.

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And to be honest, I'd tell her that I think it's f*****g outrageous that she died because everything has been a bit crap ever since. That I miss the way she'd screech (and I mean SCREECH) my name to wake me up in the morning or tap on the door and say "Loves ya babes" before I went to sleep.

I'd tell her I'm angry that she left us when she still had parenting to do (which I perhaps didn't realise until she'd gone) and I feel let down that she's not around to see the next phase of our lives. And then I'd beg her to make me a final cup of tea and to make the gnawing pain go away because there are some things only your mum can fix.

The grief is real today guys, so thanks for letting me vent to you - it's actually helped a lot. I'm going to spend the rest of the day in my PJs and allow my brain the time to do its thing. If you do nothing else today, blast Bat Out Of Hell for me, and make it loud enough for Jacqui to hear (up there).

Struggling with grief? - Here's where to get help:

Try talking about your feelings to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor – you could also contact a bereavement support organisation such as Cruse or call: 0808 808 1677

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