Grief's legacy 'Feels like forever'
His mother may have died 21 years ago but for David Gotteri the pain is almost as fresh as it was in the weeks following her death.
Patricia Gotteri, pictured, died of ovarian cancer at the age of 53. David says: "Throughout her life she'd always been so strong, so hard working and so dignified. Whatever was thrown her way, she carried herself, and us, through with a sense of determination and a resilience I hope I've inherited.
"I know everyone thinks this about their mum, but she had the most beautiful smile and I remember feeling so close and so safe with her."
David, the youngest in his family, holds close the happy childhood memories his mum was fundamental in creating. "I used to love cooking with her as a child. I remember walking to the midnight church service in the snow at Christmas, and she also took me to my first concert, which I hated!"
David, left, was just 19 when Patricia died. Like many who suffer a close bereavement when young, he found it difficult to come to terms with the overwhelming sense of loss that can occur when someone who has helped define your self-identity dies. So powerful are these feelings they can last a lifetime. David says: "When she died, it felt like everything I'd ever known just fell apart, like the world I knew had been pulled from under my feet in an instant. It has taken a long time to get even close to where I want to be, and writing has been an important part of that journey."
An insurance underwriter by profession, David, 40, who is married with two children and lives near Sheffield, is also bass player and songwriter with his band, the eponymous Gotteri. He has been writing poems and lyrics since the age of 16. Following Patricia's death, they became a cathartic release, helping him "to try and understand, get by, or simply let out some of the hurt".
During 2013, which was the 20th anniversary of Patricia's death, David "finally managed" to turn his poem Feels Like Forever into a song. He says: "I hope mum would be proud of the words I've written for her and the person I've become."
Feels Like Forever
I got some things I need to tell you
I hope you’re listening, it won’t take long.
My life’s been changing, but one thing’s missing
‘Cause by your side is where I belong...
Sometimes I get myself a coffee
And sit remembering the way you were
But that just fuels the ache inside me
‘Cause where you are, I can’t be there...
God only knows how much I miss you
Can’t wrap my arms around your memory
You gave up all you had to offer
Sometimes you know, it feels like forever
Since I heard you voice my name
I used to love to hear you calling
Now the silence hangs it’s head in shame...
Some days I need to do some talking
And you’re the one I should come to
There are days I’m so confused
I need your guidance in what I do...
It’s the smallest comfort
That I know where you are
I always feel you near me
Though time keeps us afar...
Can’t live in anger anymore
I’m getting through this day by day
Now I know and feel you with me
In my heart, along the way...
Sometimes I sit remembering
The coffee cold, forgotten now...
God only knows how much I miss you
I'll be alright... Somehow...
Listen to a demo version of Feels Like Forever
Follow Gotteri on Facebook
Help and support
If you're experiencing grief following a bereavement, however long ago, the following organisations can help.
Find bereavement services through your local council