To be perfectly honest, I have written and rewritten the opening to this blog countless times and am still at a loss of how to start it. Therefore, this reflective statement on not being able to start something, but in reality doing just that (a paradox?), will be how this blog will begin.
Mothering Sunday, or Mother’s Day. A day where people from all walks of life celebrate the matriarch with maybe a bunch of daffs, breakfast in bed, lunch out with the family, and / or many other different gifts to show appreciation and love to ‘Mother’ or ‘Nanna’ or any other of the many different monikers that mean the same thing. Wherever I’ve been of late I’ve found myself bombarded with rows upon rows of flowers, shelves of cards, enough smellies to stun a rhino … not to mention stacks of chocolates in heart shapes, mugs spouting ‘I love my mum’, and teddies holding felt roses. Let’s add on bottles of bubbly, CD compilations hosting Will Young, Ronan Keating, Take That et al, and DVDs featuring Colin Firth or Hugh Grant, and we have the occasion sewn up.
Sounds like a wonderful day, yes? Gifts, love, appreciation, and family? Most definitely a perfectly charming day. But, alas, I wasn’t feeling the ‘wonderfulness’ of it this year. Considering it is my first year without my mum, it is no surprise that I could barely see what the supermarket had on its shelves yesterday as I fought to curtail my bubbling emotions from blabbing all over the shop. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a party pooper and don’t want to appear as such. I am ecstatic that mums are appreciated and have a special day on the calendar to highlight how positively brilliant they truly are. However, why wait for that one day? Why just show her that you love her on one Sunday in March – or May if you live in the States?
I know many people will not just wait for this day to take ‘mum’ those daffs /chocolates/ teddies, or putter out words of admiration. I also need to point out that not everyone has the same relationship with his or her parent, and don’t feel the need to continuously spill over with gratitude and love for the woman who gave birth to them on a daily basis. But maybe if they were seated where I am seated at this precise moment, they may want to change their minds. I don’t mean on my sofa in my living room, either. I mean not having the opportunity to say ‘I love you, Mum’, or ‘You are amazing, Mum’. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand there are some women out there who do not deserve any recognition for anything under the heading of ‘great parent’. Being a teacher has opened my eyes to that one. Unfortunately.
The last couple of years were not the best for my mum, and if you have read Forget Me Not, you might understand why this is. I honestly believed I had more time with her, had more time of her understanding what I was saying, or being able to process it. By the time I got to the stage of realising Alzheimer’s is a disease that progresses more quickly than I first realised, and the person I loved was slowly disappearing, I was telling my mum over and over again how much I loved her. But to her every time I said ‘I love you’ was as if each and every utterance was the first. Her face would light up and she would give me that grin of hers – the same grin that makes my heart ache to remember it.
This morning I was looking for something to post on my facebook page, something that could convey how I was feeling today. There were so many different images out there that could have filled the daily spot, but not one of them seemed to reflect how I was feeling. It was a very humbling time for me when I looked at the pictures people had put out onto the net. Not only did I see a sea of grief and heartbreak for people who had lost a parent, I was also enlightened to the plight of mothers who have lost their children too. Weirdly enough, I was also given advice how to lose weight – that will teach me for putting ‘Mothers Day loss’ in the search engine, although I did become interested in the ‘Big Breakfast theory’. But, now like then, I digress.
Let me get back to the messages created by people who were better at gathering how they felt into a pithy quote. One I particularly liked was ‘For no day dawns or ends without a thought of you.’ Simple. To the point. Truthful , albeit glaringly obvious. In the seven months since my mum’s passing, I have not started, or ended, any day without thinking of her. However, now the thoughts of my mum don’t pierce my heart so much. Sometimes now I can think of her and laugh at the things that she would do or say, talk about her without my voice hitching or me having to struggle not to start crying. Now, carefully selected pictures of her around the place give me a sense of comfort and not the initial loss of before. A huge step.
I bet you are wondering why I have spent so much time writing this blog. Why I have blurted my grief out into the world on a day where happiness, gratitude and love should be displayed. There is no reason apart from I just wanted to share it. Just wanted to let other people out there who have lost a mother, a grandmother, or a figure who embodies the traits of a mother that I can relate to you. And to those mothers who have lost a child – I wanted to acknowledge you too, although I can only empathise with the grieving part.
But, mainly, I wanted to just remind you to tell the ones you love how you feel. Tell them, and tell them, and, you guessed it, tell them again. Show them too. Take the daffs even if it isn’t Mothering Sunday. Give your sister a hug, your brother a high five. Wrap your arms around the one you love and make them fully aware of how much they mean to you, how they hold a huge part of your life in their hands. Don’t forget your animals too. Give them some excited praise and watch them awaken from the slumber they have fallen into whilst you have been reading this … if you’ve gotten this far that is … and dance about you as if you are the most important person in the world. Maybe because you are.
The reason? You have the possibility of making someone’s day special every day. How perfectly wonderful is that?