I’m a big fan of Quora.com as I find lots of ideas for blogs there. One question doing the rounds goes something like this:
“How does it feel to lose your mother? Can your life ever get back to normal?”
I had my mum Dot around for my first 59 years, and it hasn’t yet been a year since she died on March 5th. I’ll be the first to say that we certainly had our ups and downs. Dot had her own idea of what I should grow up to be like, but unfortunately there our paths diverged, as I had totally different life plans. I was young and headstrong, and all I wanted to do was to leave home and get away from Dot, who was becoming increasingly clingy after the death of my father. We argued hammer and tongs, and I wanted my freedom.
So leave home I did, at the age of 20, but I made sure to visit Mum at least once a week. Dot then took on a new lease of life, shrugging out of her widow’s weeds and joining various social clubs. She met a lovely guy, but he eventually died 6 or so years after they met. Although she didn’t marry again, she enjoyed herself well into her sixties and probably up to her early seventies, while I was newly married and raising a family. During this time we were busy with our lives but got on better than we had ever done before.
However, once Dot reached her mid seventies she started to become frail and needed a walking stick. By then we lived 100 miles away from South East London in Suffolk, and I suggested to her that it might be better to leave the ‘sinking’ estate where she had lived for 25 years and move to the Suffolk countryside to be near me, her only child. After some deliberation she decided to do just that.
She hated Suffolk! She complained and whinged bitterly. There was nothing to do; all Suffolk had was tractors, and the villagers were ‘sauny’ (did that include me I wonder?). We managed to find her a couple of lunch clubs to attend, but she never really settled. I guess you can take the girl out of London, but not London out of the girl.
I began to dread her visits. Her increasing frailty caused much more complaining, and nothing was ever right. I suggested she move back to London, but somehow it never happened as secretly she knew she needed more help. I took her shopping and on Sunday afternoon outings, Sam helped with household jobs that needed doing, and finally Dot made friends in a new sheltered housing complex.
Came the day when she was so frail that she needed a nursing home. Dot wanted to die, and it was up to me to try and make her last years more tolerable. I visited every day, helped with her personal care, housework and shopping, and we slowly began to have the relationship that we should have had in the first place. She became bedridden but we reminisced a lot and laughed a lot, and I came to understand that Dot just couldn’t cope or accept the loss of her independence.
I miss Dot with every fibre of my being. The photo I’ve added is Dot playing the piano on the occasion of her 90th birthday. The phone is strangely quiet, as she always rang me several times a day. She loved music, literature, crosswords, and creative writing. She had the same black sense of humour as I do. I guess it took me nearly 60 years to discover that actually I’m more like her than I ever realised. My house is strewn with photos of her, but it’s not the same as having her sitting in my front room. I cope with the loss of my mother because I have to, but that old adage still rings true… you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. http://bookShow.me/1540895505