Winter is tough, a whole pile of memory hurdles coming thick and fast – the last time I saw my parents was on Jolly’s Birthday, 22nd December. Then there’s Christmas and all its memories and family associations. New Year. Six years ago it was February half term which contained the Great Revelation, the opening of the box which contained our particular family’s sordid little skeleton… Then comes today, and following hotly on its heels is Mothers Day.
It’s always tricky. But this year is…lighter. Easier. It’s been a long six years. Occasionally I wonder what life would still be like if it hadn’t all come bursting into the open, blinking and flinching in the sudden daylight after years of being buried at the back of mental strongboxes.
And then I look around me. I see a happy life. I see openness, and truth, and honesty. I see a sister finally unshackled and moving confidently forwards, no longer afraid to be alone, to be herself.
I see memories without a hazy childish glow. I see my Mum as she was. I can recognise and appreciate the goodness, the kindness, the happy times. I can still see her smile, her hands, the way her cheeks round themselves when she smiles – and that feels rather bittersweet. Cherished memories, all of them.
I can also see the inability to find the strength to simply do the right thing. The lack of belief in herself, the misplaced faith in the man she married, the lack of… I’m not sure. What makes a woman stay with a man who is abusing her children? What makes her believe him when he says he promises not to do it again. And stay yet again when she finds that he has? And again, and again. The same dilemma, the same choice. Him, not us.
Do I love her? Of course.
Do I hate her? No, I just don’t seem to be able to.
Do I miss her? Very much.
Do I intend to pick up the phone and talk to her, tell her it’s all okay after all? No, I don’t think so.
Maybe one day. When he’s gone. Maybe then I’ll just give in to the small unbreakable part of me who simply wants her Mum back.
Until then? Life’s pretty bloody good anyway thanks.
Happy Birthday Mum.