Blog Entry For 1/1/2015
It has been a while since my last post, my apologies. It's New Year's Day, and I'm sitting curled up with a delicate 2007 Grand Cru Chablis and a good movie. My gap in posting may well become clear if you wish to read this post in full.
It's been a challenging year for several reasons, not least closing the door on my old life when my last reason for staying eluded my efforts and emotional strength, and so I realised I was only fooling myself so I started over in the Scottish Borders. Whilst a challenge in itself, during the last year I also had to watch helplessly as my mother's health declined. She finally passed away peacefully during the early hours of 1st November. Even when enduring the mental and physical fatigue of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, my mum would still send sombre nurses and doctors back outside her room, only be to instructed to come back when they could smile on entry. That was my mum.
Without running the risk of sounding too cliche, I do indeed owe so much to my mum. For the majority of you who never met her, let me try my best to introduce you to her. When she was young, her family moved to Manchester where she spent her school days. Although her family moved to Dundee when she was older, she kept her Mancunian accent. Imagine, if you will, a cheerful Deirdre Barlow. My sister and I used to have great fun when we were younger trying to get her to say "Eeh Ken" and other Barlow-esque phrases just for kicks. My mum being my mum, she always saw right through our childish attempts, but always played along. She always loved a chuckle, even if she was the target.
When my mum and dad were married, they emigrated to Canada the next day, spending 5 years in Tweed before returning to Scotland. Whilst there, my mum worked in a secretarial position within the Canadian Government. When my sister and I came along, she gave up her career plans to be a mother. And trust me, when I was a mischievous kid, a full time job as mother hardly describes the hardships involved! It was a seemingly simple decision, but growing up through our childhood with the constant attention and love of our mother provided a rock solid emotional base on which my sister and I could grow.
My mum epitomised the 70's ethos, and throughout her life, every person lucky to know her was granted the pleasure of her overwhelming love, compassion and joy. It's strange, but it was only once my mum passed away that I really took the time to think about what made her so unique. It struck me that after 38 years, I don't have a single memory of fighting or falling out with my mum. I shared this thought with my sister and my dad, and when we started to talk about her, we realised one of my mum's secrets in life. To us, my mum seemed to shroud herself in an alternate world. Her perception of the world around her never met with our own. Her world was a fair, just and loving world, devoid of doubt and evil and one in which the good always won. I realised I was naive in thinking she lived in a fairy tale world.
You can go through life acknowledging evil as a part of life and feeling a growing anger of the wrongs in the world. But what good does that serve? My mum experienced life by refusing to entertain the things that jarred with her own approach to life, and simply travelled through her days living by her own rules and treating those around her the same. Such a simple weapon, just spread love and happiness where you tread and let the rest fall by the wayside. As my Grandad used to say, "all you can do in life is tend to your own backyard". It would seem my mum had a good teacher.
And so I am here, on New Year's Day, in a strange place. I feel emotionally in limbo, unable to feel pain or joy. Thoughts of my mum simply result in emotional shutdown, so I am preparing myself, as I am aware there is much to ahead of me with regard to grieving. Every good part of me is within me because of my mum. I have a very analytical, borderline aspergers personality. My mother's tenderness tempered that shard of my personality to make room for my love of music, art, photography and love itself. Those parts of me elude me at the moment, but I hope it's only transient. I hope that 2015 will be the year in which I can start bridging some of the holes in my heart.
For the strange people amongst you that actually missed my posts, I hope you can now appreciate why I have been reluctant to share my thoughts this year. This will change, don't worry. But in closing, I do feel I need to say one thing. Through all of the pain, I have one thing that brings me a small splinter of reassurance. I remember vividly my last conversation with my mum, after I had returned home from her final hospital visit. My last words to her were "I love you", and I spoke them with feeling. We both said it, and strangely both of our voices broke when we spoke the words. I think we both had a feeling we didn't want to voice, that we both knew it would be the last words we'd hear from one another, and they had to count. And so they were.
Wherever in the world you are, and whoever means the world to you, make sure they know how much they mean to you. I was lucky, my mum and I had a close, loving relationship that allowed three simple words to mean what they should mean each and every time they are spoken aloud. Make sure that those you love know it when it matters. The rest is just dressing.
I hope you all have a rich and peaceful 2015. My love to you all.
Chris.1/1/2015 Tags: memoriam