I’m sat here, in my bed, waiting for my grown up children to remember that it’s Mother’s Day and watching the boring Sunday politics shows whilst browsing the papers (i.e..catching up on my Facebook, Instagram etc….) and I’m bombarded with images and heartfelt messages online to mothers everywhere and I can’t help it, but a lump has jumped into my throat.
It’s been well over 15 years since we lost my mam, it was totally unexpected, merciless, so so quick and so very hard. She bore it with her usual stoicism; she had this knack of just putting things into a metaphorical ‘box’ and just getting on with it, it was almost as if she hadn’t heard what was happening and whilst she knew that she was dying, it wasn’t talked about, well not to me anyway. We talked about practical things, how to control her pain and her medication, her bed, her bowels, (of all bloody things!) how to sort out putting a toilet downstairs when the bathroom was upstairs, in retrospect, such stupid things. Did we chat about the future, the meaning of life, the funeral or any other things you would assume that someone with a terminal diagnosis would want to broach? Nope, not at all. Maybe those conversations were had with others, my sisters, my brother, my dad but not with me. We just got on, as we always had, with the practical things.
Wishing it were otherwise is pointless now, that was the kind of relationship we had and even with her knowing that time was short, that didn’t change. We had, in total I think, 20 days from her diagnosis to her death at the ridiculously young age of 58 and in that time we were so bewildered that I don’t think any of us had the time to register what was happening, it was just so bloody awfully quick. Who had time for ‘meaningful’ conversations or even to catch our breath? All I could manage (and still feel) was anger, fury at the cancer that just turned up at her door and took her away from us.
Days like today are hard but then every day is hard in some small way, even now. When I need help to do the shopping, I miss her, when I need someone to keep me company when P is out, I miss her, when I’m trying to choose this bloody wedding dress, I miss her and when people ask “are you taking Mam somewhere nice for Mother’s Day?” I miss her. Most of the time I just don’t even realise I miss her, I haven’t had her around for so long that whilst I haven’t forgotten her, her presence faded away a long time ago. I can remember her face and her lovely skin but I can’t remember her voice any more, we had it on the house answerphone for ages but I haven’t heard it for a long time.
To those of you who still have her around, just take a second to enjoy her today, just for a moment; she drove me round the twist sometimes but I’d have loved to have her around for just a little longer. Just long enough to see the grandchildren she adored grow up, to see her own kids cope with the teenage years of said grandchildren and especially to see her silently grieving husband who we all worried would crumble resolutely turn into the best Grampa the world has ever seen.
I think, in her own unique way, she’d have been very proud………