5 years ago, tomorrow, I lost my friend, confidante, my inner voice*. I lost my mother.
Nobody loves you like a mother loves you. I was fortunate enough to grow up in an amazing family, with fabulous parents. My mother had an old school parenting style. She was my mother first, friend second. That sometimes meant I didn’t get my own way! She was my parent when I was a child and teenager. As an adult she became my friend. We were very alike – my siblings call me a “mini-Mary”. Though being alike wasn’t always a good thing! 99% of the time it was wonderful. Mum was my nurse, teacher, mentor, and advisor. She gave advice – some of it unwanted – and she would listen. She moulded me in so many ways. She taught me right from wrong, to not take life for granted, that life didn’t always turn out the way we wanted it to and when it didn’t go our way we had to make the best fist of it.
She was also a practical guide and taught me how to cook, sew and knit. She helped me to garden, advised me on clothes. She was an older mum – many people took her as my grandmother when I was younger. But she was a with-it older mum. Mum listened to me when I was on RDU as a DJ. She even liked most of the music I played! She drew the line at grunge… but if it had a tune and a rhythm, she was open to listening to it! She liked fashion. She liked some of the “mod stuff” and she loved a good session of retail therapy – particularly if it included a shoe shop. She enjoyed a good laugh and she loved family to be around her. I’m from a big family and as a child I recall the house being full – not just with us, but with friends, cousins, aunts, uncles! There was always room for one more… and she could stretch out a meal to handle it too! Even as she got older she loved having the family come and stay. Mum and dad downsized the house, so not as many bodies stayed over night – but meal times we would all be around.
I can’t believe it’s five years. It feels longer sometimes, but it also doesn’t feel like it can be that long. How can it be five years? Where did that go? The evidence is there though – no snaps of her on my phone, only a few on the computer, from my brother’s wedding 8 years ago, and from their 51st wedding anniversary a couple of years later. My memories are in my head and also around me – in the garden when the camellia comes out, or the rhodies bloom. In summer when the peonies and then lillies blast their colour into the garden, and when I stew up rhubarb for breakfast. She’s with me when I’m deciding whether or not to buy something nice (“you’re a long time dead, Susan” was often her advice). I miss her so much. I miss her voice, her hugs, her smile and her unbending love. But I bask in the glow of the memories of her and her love. I am who I am because of it.
*She’s still my inner voice. I often think, “what would mum say?” and I usually know the answer!