Explorer Mikael Strandberg

I miss my mum

I miss my mum.
She died when I was heading for Siberia and the Frozen Frontier Expedition back in 2012. I missed her funeral a couple of weeks later, because I was sitting at the back of a team of reindeers shooting through the darkness in -60 degrees C. It was too cold to even be able to think about my mum. I was just surviving, trying to not think about frostbites or the end of the day. Once inside the teepee, after two hours of hard work creating the perfect campspot, the heat was on from the woodstove and life was way more comfortable. Then I had no time thinking about her because it was all about food, transferring material to harddrives and a freezing night coming up.
In reality, life has been so busy so it is actually this last year, since the stroke and concussion, that I have spent a lot of time thinking about her. For me, she was a fantastic mum. Lots of love, a great friend who I can be vulnerable and strong with and talk about everything. We had so much fun together, same humour, so we laughed like mad many times every day. She never questioned my ideas of how I wanted to live my life. On the contrary, she gave all her support. First lesson on how to be a parent. Your children are not there to entertain you or keep you company, they have a life to live.
That said, today I feel I wasn´t there enough for my mum. She spent most of her time by herself. She was comfortable with that. Fortunately, she had my great brother and his family close by. And my aunt. Her sister, who lived in the house I love in Lima. Up the mountains. She passed away a few months ago. Now buried next to her sister. Every day up there in Lima I get reminded of mum. I know mum didn’t sleep well when I was away on my travels. She was saved by her daily routines, which I oddly have copied today. I found her a bit weird as a kid, since she ate very healthy food (greens, seeds, nuts) and did her gymnastics every morning. Stretching, yogalike movements and strength. She was very agile up into her late seventies. She did her daily 2-3 hour walk every day. Now I am doing the same.
I put her through a lot. I don´t know if it accelerated the Alzheimer’s she had, but during the last few years she only on and off, remembered me. I came to visit her far too seldom, she was in an old people’s home 8 hours driving away from Malmö and every time I came to visit, as was the case with my aunt, she was just lying there, sleeping her days away. This is not the way to head on to higher exploration.
But I do feel guilt. That said, I also know guilt is part of being a human being. And you can learn to live with it as part fo life, live with that pain and the good memories together.

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