Mum died just a few days before my 19th birthday, over 30 years ago now, and I’m sitting here in a quiet house reflecting on how fortunate I am to be my mother’s son. A strong character, my mum taught me to be curious, to question authority – and though that notion inevitably gets me into a few scrapes, I do believe it is something wonderful, and something we could probably do with a bit more of in the world too. She also taught me about the importance of showing respect for others, and trying to earn it for yourself. I know I get this stuff wrong more often than I get it right, and it’s a worthy pursuit, so I keep trying. As each mother’s day rolls by, I have strongly mixed feelings about love and loss, as I expect do most people who’ve lost their mum. Today – love has come out on top. Thanks mum – I’m truly grateful.
Happy Mother’s Day
Like all proud dads I think my daughter is the best. As Keira grows and becomes more and more her own person, the mother’s love Carole has for Keira radiates through our daughter and is reflected in Keira’s kind, funny and smart personality. It’s a lovely thing to see – these things they have in common. Carole is currently sleeping, safe in the knowledge that she will be made a fuss of today. We do nice things for each other in this family on random everyday days too, but a day like this is a great time to stop and be thankful, so we shall be.
I don’t think we are meant to get over loss, I think we are meant to grow from it.
Mother’s Day is coming this weekend, at least it is in the USA. Heather Bussing marked it by posting this on Facebook:
For all of you whose mothers died, or who are estranged for really good reasons, or who don’t know your mother because of adoption, or who just have mixed feelings about someone who has both helped you and wounded you, I am sending you love. You are not alone.
What a lovely note, thanks Heather. The note took my mind straight to this blog post about Mum. Heather read the post then dropped me a message within which was written:
I don’t think you ever get over it. I don’t think you should.
I lost my keys last week which were on a lovely key ring Keira made for me. I’m disappointed and I’ll get over it. The death of a loved one shifts us harshly into a different place in life. A place from which I know we can continue to grow from. I don’t want to get over that, I choose to celebrate it.
I couldn’t bring myself to publish this yesterday…
14th October 1985, the phone rings. “Hello son, this is dad. We’re going to hospital; it looks like this is it, do you want to come?” I declined. I couldn’t face going to see my mum die. She was cremated ten days later and I turned 20 four more days after that.
Suddenly you were gone, and all the lives you left a mark upon.
For me Mother’s day is a Jekyll and Hyde affair. I love it because of the excitement and joy that Keira Carole and I share as a family. Carole is a wonderful mum and Keira and I enjoy letting her know. Not just on Mother’s day – Keira often leaves messages and drawings and little love notes around the place – and I try to remember to tell Carole often that I think she’s a top mum too. Equally I find the day a sad one because for me – time is not a great healer. It merely puts greater distance between me and that very sad and painful day.
Of course I would dearly love to have enjoyed my mum’s support and generosity and love for longer, who wouldn’t? And shit happens and we have to deal with it. I take huge comfort from the fact that I spent very nearly nineteen fabulous years learning from mum. She taught me many useful things, among the very best of which are:
Get on with it
Enjoy yourself and other people
Make mistakes and learn from them
I’m driven to live these things and I love it.
photo c/o my dad – one of only a handful of pictures of me and my mum