Yesterday made 6 years that my mummy passed away. She succumbed to her illness at approximately 11.30pm on April 23rd 2009. Today, I figured it would only be right to dedicate this blog in her memory, since my blog profile picture is her at the age of 10.
My mummy is my inspiration in everything I do, say and think. It was with her support and her encouragement that I was able to accept every challenge and obstacle in my life with grace and poise. It is because of her why I am who I am, and it is because of her love of the creative why I have started blogging.
My mum was a lawyer by profession, but as the years passed she morphed and changed like a caterpillar into a butterfly (several times). She was an author, a certified reiki practitioner, a mediator, a yoga enthusiast and fluent in french. Above all, she was a best friend, a confidante, a motivator, a hero…a mother!
She allowed me to soar high like an eagle, and if there were times my wings failed, she was always there to catch me. She always stood in my corner, ready to help me fight any battle – especially if she knew I was right. She gave me free reign to express myself and to grow freely like a beanstalk. She told me once – “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. You can do anything once you set your mind to it”. She had a loving hug and a listening ear for every one of my friends – and all of them were known as “sweetie” and “sweetheart” as far as she was concerned.
The day she died it felt like the rug had been pulled from under me. It felt like I was free falling in an abyss with no sign of hitting the ground. I felt like I was in a dream which had suddenly turned into a nightmare. I felt hopelessly alone while surrounded by so many people. I did everything in an expressionless daze, totally unaware of the harsh reality that I was presented with. That was the precise moment my holiday repping days were over for good.
Every time I would close my eyes I hoped my mother was going to walk through the door. I had actually made myself believe that she had only gone for a little holiday and she would be back very soon. 6 years later…and she still hasn’t come back from her little holiday. I guess I’ve had to make peace with the fact that she’s never coming back.
I have framed pictures of her all over my house so that I can be reminded of her beautiful smile every day. Her smile could light up the darkest night, and it is her smile that I remember the most. It’s weird – as the time passes, the memory of her starts to fade…but her smile is what stays with me. I can no longer hear her laughter, or smell her perfume. I can barely see her face in my head, or remember the tales she would tell. Everything seems to be faraway memory…so faint…almost unreal.
My daughter did not get a chance to know her grandma – and for that reason I live forever in a state of sadness. My mum wanted grandchildren so badly. She used to tease me that I was going to have 10 and all of them would love her and call me ‘mean mummy’. (*smile*). I would throw back my head in fits of hysterics at the thought of 10 children, and I would say, “That’s absolutely fine. You can keep them! I don’t want 10 children anyway”. I didn’t know I was pregnant when I sat by my mother’s death bed. I never found out until after she was gone. If she had known would she have fought a little harder? Would she have stuck around a little longer? Would she have recovered completely? These thoughts are just ‘what if’s’ that float around my mind – I am fully aware that I will never know.
We didn’t always see eye to eye – but who does as a teenager? I really couldn’t stand her though, and I used to wish she was dead. As far as I was concerned my life would have been easier without her in it! Stupid teenager I was! – wishing my mother dead because she said I couldn’t go to some dumb party. Looking back, I’m appalled that those thoughts even came into my head. How could I have been so callous and unloving? What could have been so bad? As a teenager you never think your parents are going to die…they’re invincible. In your 20’s you never think your parents get sick…they’re unstoppable. So you can imagine the shock and the horror when you receive a phone call from halfway across the other side of the world, in a totally different time zone, and hear the immortal words – “whatever I say…don’t panic!”.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was working in Fuerteventura (the Canary Island), and the phone rang. It was my mum. She sounded a little weak, but nothing to get overly concerned about. She made casual conversation, and then said,
“I wasn’t planning on saying anything. I would have preferred if you found out after I was gone. I’m sick. I have breast cancer. Its stage 4 and there’s nothing they can do. I was told I had to tell you – but I didn’t want to”.
Nothingness is probably the only word I can use to describe the emotion I felt in that moment. I didn’t know what to say, do or think. This was in the February – I had just left in January after spending 2 months with her. I didn’t notice anything strange then and she definitely didn’t say anything. What on earth happened in the space of a month? Why was she telling me this now? Was this a sick cruel joke – if it was, it wasn’t funny.
I flew back home March 2009, when the company could finally release me, and I will admit wholeheartedly I ignored what I had been told. I saw her lying in the bed looking frail, but 2 months prior she and I were driving and behaving as if nothing was wrong. Who was that person lying in the bed pretending to be sick. I had convinced myself it was a joke…and she would jump up and go “GOTCHA!”. The only “gotcha” I got was when the doctor called to tell me she had passed away, just after a week of being admitted into hospital for dehydration. I guess she got her wish in the end – I got that final phone call from a stranger after all.
Just when I think I have cried all the tears I have left – a fresh wave of tears trickle slowly down my face. I could write and say that this time of year is especially hard – but I’m made of stronger stuff. I could say that some days I don’t want to face being a mother or an employee. I could say that there are moments when I want to run… to run fast and far away. But I can’t say any of that. Because my mother is – and always will be- my inspiration. Her tenacity for life, her youthful demeanor and her positive outlook, is what gets me through my darkest days – and when all else fails – I remember that smile… that smile that could light up the darkest room