Not to beat about the bush, today would have been my mum’s birthday. The reason I have started this blog with me not ‘beating around said bush’ is because for the last thirty minutes that is exactly what I’ve been doing. Beginning any piece of writing focused on my mum in any way makes the words jam and cram and settle inside the canal from my brain to my fingers – probably because the intersection at the point of the heart’s involvement always tries to add too much to what I want to say. Nothing I can write at this point will ever be good enough, or convey with enough depth of feeling what I want to get across. But, I will try.
March is always a bugger of a month for me. Mother’s Day and Mum’s birthday all in one hit. You would think that it would get easier over time, but then again, it has only been 19 months since she left us. I have, however, reached the point where memories of her can draw laughter and a feeling of warmth and wonder at ever knowing a woman as perfect as her. Maybe I am biased, but maybe my mother was everything I always believed and more besides. Strong, resilient, loving, protective, witty, caring and the list goes on. I’m sure the majority of you reading this will empathise with the sentiments and be able to add to the catalogue of words I have started. The person you are thinking about may not even be a blood relative, but that, in the grand scheme of things, is neither here nor there.
My mother was a fighter. A trooper. A woman who would not let things get her down. She had a tough life, but she didn’t moan about it or expect to have special treatment because her father died when she was six months old, or as a girl of fifteen she nursed her dying mother. My mum just kept going, battling everything that tried to take her down.
But then there came a battle that she could never win, however much she tried. Alzheimer’s is an opponent who is becoming all too familiar in our lives today; an opponent that imprisons, terrorises and traumatises victims, stripping them of all they were and could be. Watching this disease tear through my mother was something I would not wish on my worst enemy. Alzheimer’s doesn’t just destroy the victim – it also devastates his/her loved ones too. The decline from being slightly forgetful, something my family and I nervously laughed off, to the shell of a woman she became seemed not to correlate to what I expected. Naivety and desperate hope left me believing that maybe my mum would end up happily living in her own world as ‘eccentric’, or ‘slightly dotty’ as my sister lovingly said.
I did begin this blog saying I wasn’t going to beat around the bush, and then what did I do? I beat that poor bloody bush into submission, maybe unconsciousness. The real reason I wanted to post today was because I wanted to share something with you. Not just about my mum’s illness, not even that it is her birthday today. I want to give you a gift.
So, here you have it.
I was going to give a few copies of my short story Forget Me Not to the first few that asked. However, I have changed my mind. You have a week to let me know if you want a copy free of charge. I have mobi, epub or pdf up for grabs. All you have to do is let me know and I’ll send it over to you. Gratis. It’s yours.
Already emotionally drained by coping with her mother’s Alzheimer’s, Cathy Turner feels as if the death of her older brother is the last straw. She walls off her emotions, and mechanically copes with the demands on her time, day by day. Until forces beyond her control and beyond her understanding, break through her self-imposed isolation. Is she losing her mind, or is a power beyond this world gently nudging her in a direction that promises hope and renewal?
I hope you take me up on my offer. I can’t give my mum a real present this year but I can give one to you. I just hope you enjoy it.
And happy birthday, Mam x
(Just to clarify on a few things. This story is mainly based on fact – even the paranormal aspect. The nurse, however, shows hope. This can be viewed as an actual person or an idea or an emotion. It can, in reality be all three. I found my strength here – and that was the point where I knew I could get through whatever would happen. It was my turn to look after a woman who had spent her whole life looking after me, something I would do over and over again in a heart beat.)