I’m 51 and I miss my mother.
Next week will be the second anniversary of her suicide. It will be a hard day as every day has been since she left us. She’s probably shaking her head and telling me that I should move on with my life and that she’s fine, that I should forget about her, she’d probably tell you she’s not worth thinking about so much.
But secretly I know she would be pleased.
Occasionally I am asked how I feel about what she did. Does it matter ?. I can’t turn back the clock. I couldn’t have prevented it. Yes I might have postponed it but there was an air of inevitability about it, a sense that she would choose her own time, that she would know when enough was enough.
I don’t blame her. Her brother committed suicide about two weeks before I was born. She didn’t blame him and telling the ones left behind that the suicide was selfish doesn’t make things better. It wasn’t selfish, it was freedom of choice. I respect freedom of choice. Sure I desperately wish it hadn’t happened but I’m not going to say anything bad about what happened.
We used to chat every Sunday morning at 8.45. She’d have the phone with her as she lay in bed reading the papers and we’d go through the past week, talk about my work, her social life, my father when he was alive, the usual stuff; Tv, the weather, the conflicting views of the film reviews in the weekly and weekend editions.
Then there were the DVDs. Checking prices, organising for Amazon to send them to her, discussing what she thought of them.
She loved doing crosswords. I remember how pleased she was when she managed to do the big Saturday one by herself. How she used to ring me for answers and how we’d be perplexed at some of the strange clues and obtuse answers. “How was I expected to get that!?” She would say and I can still hear the disbelief in her voice.
She was a very talented artist but never believed in herself. She could have been well known, I think. Talented with pen and ink and a huge imagination. A keen creative writer, clever wordsmith and a keen intelligence that, probably, never had the outlet it deserved.
She could be sharp and fussy. She hated changes to her routine and surprises. A one time spontaneous visit resulted in me being kicked out early as she had “other things to do and was expecting someone else”. You just had to shrug your shoulders, smile and tell her you’d call her on Sunday as expected!
She loved to garden. She had a real appreciation of nature and always showed a keen interest in my travels to the extent that she endured my holiday photos with a waspish, ‘..and how many more are there ?”. Probably too many!
Passionate about film from the 1930s to 1980s, John Wayne fan, adored Charlton Heston and what she called “manly men” actors, loved “Avatar” for its colours and was an avid collector of Studio Ghibli animations. The very last film she watched was one of theirs, a present from me as she came out of hospital.
There’s a message on my answerphone. It’s from her on the day she came out after five weeks of infections post a hip replacement. She’s sitting in her favourite chair looking out on her beloved garden as the sun goes down and she sounds so happy. I can’t bear to listen to it and I can’t bear to delete it because it’s all that’s left of her. It’s a moment caught, forever frozen in time.
I miss her as a sounding board. I miss her counsel. I miss her objectivity. I miss her wisdom and her sense of humour, that dry chuckle at something she’d read or heard. Every Sunday I want to pick up the phone and hear her voice.
I might be 51 but I miss my mum.