A celebration of mum

Bear doodle

I don’t want this post to all self-pity and woe is me. The fact of the matter is that 11 years ago today my mum died.

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun

I want to honour her here in my little space on the internet, without writing a post woven with the sadness and grief that I feel every year, not just on this date, but at this time of year. Ironically, Autumn was mum’s favourite season and she would often be heard drawing our attention to the beauty of the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’. But in 2006 as the leaves changed from green, to golden, red and brown and the bare branches made their annual appearance, my mum and her beautiful heart left us forever.

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

We were planning our wedding. We ended up planning a funeral first. Anyway, before I dive headlong into the reminiscences of moments that shatter my heart like they happened five minutes ago, I want to stop myself. I want to remember the good things, the funny things, the little things. Because they are the things I miss the most…

– Sitting on the worktop by the boiler as you made the Sunday roast/Steven’s dinner/a pot of tea.

–  The way you said ‘OOOoooooo oooooo’ from afar to get someone’s attention.

– Your silent screams into the cupboard above the chopping board. As I parent I now totally get it.

– Waving a tea towel out the front door in the heat of summer and proclaiming it “too ‘ot” while cooking the obligatory Sunday roast.

– Being fed mashed up Mars bar when I had chicken pox.A photograph of me and my mum

– Needing to wake you in the night, but fearful of the Mum Rage (I have inherited this) so standing by the bed and mouthing ‘MUM’ with no sound as ‘loudly’ as I could.

– Birthdays. All of them. Every one. The last one you would share with me just weeks before you fell ill, I arrived at home to find pink crepe paper bows and balloons all over the front door and living room. We had a teddy bears picnic. I was 26.

– You coming in to school to run knitting club when I was at primary school. Everyone made mice out of squares, or cavemen out of squares or dinosaurs… out of squares.

– Watching you create – cake decorating, drawing, knitting, sewing… thank you x

– Always saying ‘love you’ before bed. Even if we weren’t talking.

– The one time I lied to you. You knew I was lying. You let me lie. I knew I was lying. A bit of me died.

– When I was 20 and the life I thought I had planned out took an unexpected turn. I couldn’t let you in because I couldn’t find the words. I went outside and washed my prized silver Mini Cooper in the street. I didn’t know what else to do with myself and the tears streamed down my face in anger, hurt and frustration as I scrubbed at the car. You opened the front door and played “Crash and Burn” by Savage Garden full blast.A photograph of my sister, my mum and me

– Seeing your face in the crowd at every school event willing me on. I can not remember a time you weren’t there.

– Doing the ‘Dove from Above’ (think Shooting Stars) at inappropriate moments.

– Baking – rock cakes, scones, sponge, Christmas cake. We had our faves.
– Your inability to leave any teddy that ‘looked at you that way’ on the shelf. Totally inherited.

– Your guidance and support as I struggled with anxiety even though you didn’t fully understand it… neither did I.

– Your love of Christmas; from crap crackers to the annual search for the dud lightbulb (those were the days!), from foil ceiling decorations to Christmas Eve ‘shows’, you loved it all and we loved your love of it all.

The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

And while I could go on for a lot longer that is where I will leave it for now. Christmas. It isn’t so far off. Mum’s birthday was December 10 so we have always put the tree up the weekend that follows the 10th. We will do that again this year and as we do we tell the children why that weekend is special. While I can not ever bring their nanny fully into their lives, I like to think they get a sense of her essence through the things I do and say.


November 24th, 2017 by