I was searching for a specific old photo of me yesterday because I’m involved in a really fun project with Boohoo.com (more of that in another post.) It was so lovely reminiscing. The fashion, THE HAIR … the photos of my Mum who I miss dearly.
This photo jumped out at me for several reasons. Firstly, my hat. What was I thinking?!? Secondly, the choker. Speechless. I’m not sure chokers were ever in fashion. We were off to my cousin’s wedding (she’s since informed me – I had no idea whose wedding it was!) and this was in 2002, so that would make me … 32! It was the year I met Dexter’s dad which is always a bittersweet memory for me because we were really happy for the first six months but slowly, very gradually, it all turned into a bit of a nightmare. I’ve never really gone public with what exactly happened. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to talk about it if I’m honest.
So I guess this photo is of me when I was someone else entirely because that relationship with him changed me.
Dad was wearing his best wedding suit (that Mum would have bought him) and I have lovely memories of him doing the Jive with Mum at every single wedding they ever went to. My Mum looks excited and happy to be there. She lived for her family and it was a time where our family would all meet up for weddings. It seems to be funerals 12 years on! But this is the church that Mum and Dad got married in … the one I was christened in. Most family weddings were held here and it’s the church associated with Dexter’s school, so we still spend time there (although ironically, we’re not actually religious at all.) It’s also the church where Mum’s ashes are.
This church means life and death to me and without wanting to get all Elton John on you, it’s just symbolic of the circle of life really. I’ve made peace with that – although I don’t think I’ll ever make peace with the fact I went out in public wearing that awful hat.
I remember shopping for this wedding outfit with her. I’m pretty sure hers was from Marks & Spencer because that’s where she got most of her clothes. Whenever we went shopping together, which was at least every Saturday, she would say to me, “Does this look nice? I don’t want to look like mutton dressed as lamb.” My opinion mattered. And I’d always tell her that that she looked lovely … because she did. We’d then go upstairs to the M&S cafe where I’d buy her a pot of tea and a cheese scone and we’d chat about everything … except how miserable my relationship made me. I mean, I’d tell her snippets, but she always hated confrontation and was always so uncomfortable if I told her about ‘difficult stuff.’ I learnt to keep it to myself and that’s what our relationship became. Wonderful and oh my God, full of so much laughter, but with me hiding parts of my life from her. As I got older I just became more accepting of her as a woman and a mother and how, although we might deal with situations differently as people, I accepted her for who she was … this amazingly warm woman with a heart of gold.
Anyway, there’s no real point to this blog post other than to share with you just another little insight into what a lovely woman Mum was.
I’m not maudlin about it, I’ve come to terms with her death, but for those of you who have lost someone you love, you’ll understand that need to still talk about them – to keep their memory alive, because even though they’re not physically with us anymore, they are still ‘with’ us. If that makes sense. And to not talk about Mum just feels wrong. I know people are a little weird about the whole ‘death’ thing but honestly, there’s no need to be. If you know someone who has lost someone, especially if it’s their Mum, all I can say is don’t be afraid to broach the subject. I’d say that most of us get a lot of pleasure from talking about who our loved ones were, the things they liked, what made them laugh.
Most of my memories of Mum are crystal clear which perhaps goes some way to explaining why I still dream she’s alive, but instead of that horrid 5 second realisation upon waking that she’s not, I feel comforted. It’s like she just came to visit me for a while whilst I slept. It’s like living with an echo of someone … you can’t see them, but they have left such a mark on you that you can’t ever forget them, even if you tried.
I’m rambling. I miss her. It is what it is. Life goes on.