It’s mum’s birthday today, or would be if she were still alive. It’s been a few years since she went, but I always remember it when her birthday comes around again.
I don’t know how I describe what I feel these days. There are times I miss her badly, but those times generally are when I feel at my most desperate. I live in desperate times, for me anyway, but mostly I ride the bump. Sometimes I can’t or won’t and it’s at those times you miss the loving presence of a devoted mum. When you’re up against the world it’s nice to know you’ve got someone in your corner.
It’s that which has made me appreciate how much she meant to me. I was in her thoughts day after, as I’m not in anyone’s thoughts today. You take that for granted, as you do so often as a child. It’s your due you figure, because you don’t know any different. Then you do know different, and feel it.
Mourning and loss are very personal, self-centred emotions. That the loved one has been denied of life is a subset of what you have been deprived of in their passing. That’s certainly true in my case. It’s only in passing do I consider of all the things they have been deprived of in leaving too soon. These things are linked of course. The things we are deprived of are mostly shared things. A bond has been broken, and in that a partnership has ceased.
Most of the time I don’t feel desperate. I feel stretched often, and almost always under some kind of pressure, but I have become accustomed to it. What I feel day by day then is a mild sorrow that she is not here. I’m more often reminded of her absence in little things, as when I see something or hear something that I know she loved, or times when questions arise in my mind I wish I could ask her – so many now. Or when I’m watching something and wish I could call her up to talk to her about it, or to tell her to watch. These are the little things that knit together relationships, too small to see until they are no longer present.
As it happens mum’s dearest friend is always mindful of mum. The anniversary of her death is marked by an exchange of text messages. Her birthday this time, as in years previous, will be celebrated with a bottle of wine or two next week. Mum would’ve been right into that.