Today is Mothers Day. Wednesday was my Mums birthday. Between the two, this week is always tricky, weird and uncomfortable.
Apparently, I’ve managed to resolve nothing, and have learned nothing, in the last five years.
That’s such a long time.
So. Here I am. And since my nans death, and subsequent conversation with my sister, Stuff has been swilling around in the sludgy undercurrents of my subconscious. Such is the pattern of such things, I’ve discovered over the last few years – it’s tidal, and some months are easy, some are more tricky. This week is always a tough one – Mums birthday is always very close to Mothers day, and there’s a whole heap of emotional baggage tied up in them both – from where there is no escape.
But, I’ve been trying to figure out how to move past this point. How do I get beyond where I am now?
I’m not sure I do, really.
As far as I can tell – this is it.
But where is it that I am?
What IS ‘this’?
Mum – I miss you. In a thousand different small ways, every single day. I miss your smile. I miss your lipstick. I miss your earrings. I miss your cooking advice. I miss your understanding. I miss knowing that you’ll be pleased to hear from me whenever I ring you. I miss you whenever I use the enamel pie tin you passed on to me. I miss you when I make cheescake. I miss you when No.1 asks me to make the cheesecake. I miss you when I hear Cliff Richard songs. I miss you when I see Ladies Of Your Age out shopping in their sensible coats. I just… miss you.
But – it’s not that easy is it?
I don’t miss the way I felt after spending time with you. I know most of it was him, not you. But it’s impossible to separate the two of you. And you enabled that to come to pass. You allowed him to spend his days subtly bullying, slyly coaxing and sneakily controlling us all.
But worse than that.
You knew what he did to your daughters. And you stayed. So WE stayed. And so it was allowed to carry on with me. I can forgive and allow the naive ignorance (though find it hard to believe that I would not know if it was MY children). But I just find it hard to understand what power on earth could have made you stay when you knew unequivocally all that he was. When you were young and had a job, and friends, and a family, and enough independent means to do the right thing. Because it was the right thing, and no excuses can make that sentence turn out differently. You had a choice, and you made it. And in so doing, you allowed your youngest child to remain within his reach. And his reach was horrible, Mum.
You may have saved your marriage, but eventually, that decision lost you your children.
Was it actually worth it?
Is HE worth it?
And then, years later, everything that He was and is finally came to light. Finally, we four siblings talked about it. Unknowing partners were told, our own marriages were under fire as the darkest secrets of our family were hauled squirming into the light of day. And suddenly you had that choice to make all over again.
Only this time you were older. You had less friends, no independent means, no Mum of your own to support you… But this time you did have grown up children all willing – praying – that you would come away. For once show that actually, you were on their side. That they meant more. And you had sisters who would take you in, share their homes with you.
But of course you stayed. It “wasn’t his fault“, he “was ill“, your “Marriage vows meant something to you“, he “needed you“, you “didn’t see why you should be alone and struggle“.
And finally, enough was enough. It was all just too hard, and it wasn’t fair. Yes, we’re all grown ups now, with families of our own.
But inside we’re still your children. We’re still US. And we still need you. And just like my children need to know I am always there, on their side, to fight their battles for them – we all needed to know you believed us. Trusted us. Loved us.
But not enough, it seems.
So now… we don’t talk. But I know you’re there. And every Christmas, every birthday, every Mothers Day reminds me how much I miss you. And how much I lost. And how much I still love you, despite my best efforts. But also how you let us down. How you let Me down.
And I don’t see what I can do to change that.
Happy Mothers Day, Mum.