My mum died in 1992. That seems like a lifetime ago, such a long, long time, 28 years of experiences that I lived through without her.
Those years can disappear in an instant as I go back through my memories of her, and it can seem as if they’re happening right now. And while she could be quick to anger, she was almost always smiling, laughing, showering everyone around her with warmth and love.
I miss her all the time and yet I think about her less and less. She left us far too early, she was only 47 and had lots of living to do. But I’ve always had her with me. She saved Reilly’s life more times than I care to think about, happenings he could only have survived with divine or angelic intervention.
She forgave everyone who had hurt her in her life, long before forgiveness had become a thing we do. Certainly, therapy and psychology were not terms known in our house and yet she embodied so much of the process of trauma recovery, serving others, acting from love and forgiving, and she had a lot to forgive. She was connected to her faith and God in a way I could never understand but I know her faith brought her comfort.
Today is her birthday. If she had lived she would be 75 today. I sometimes think about what she would be like now, where would she be living, what would she have done in those 28 years.
I believe she would have become fearless, throwing off the shackles of ‘what other people think’ that she had been brought up with. She would have lived every moment to its fullest, casting off the pain and shadows of her past.
I like to imagine that she would have traveled far and wide, something she never had the opportunity to do, only travelling as far as England to see her youngest son’s passing out parade. She would have followed the sun and maybe ended up running a bar or a B&B in Greece or Spain, beloved by the locals and her regulars.
She would still have taken a keen interest in the lives of her children and the grandchildren she never got to meet. She was always nosy, that wouldn’t change but she would be the first person those kids would turn to for advice because they would know that whatever she said would come from love and there would be no judgement, no matter what they might have done.
That’s what makes me the saddest. I know what I lost and grieve for it. Her four grandchildren have no idea of the amazing person they didn’t get to have in their lives. There’s a huge hole they are not aware exists.
Happy Birthday Mum. We love and miss you always xx