Monday, 16 March 2015

I'm Proud To Turn Into My Mum

I was the child of older parents, I was born in 1973 when my Mum was two months away from turning 42 and my Dad was 50.  So my parents were pre-war babies, 1924 and 1932. 

I lost my parents when I was 18.

Looking back now, with my own children they seem quite disinterested about dead people they never knew which is so sad. There is no relevance for them to the people they should have known and loved. It's like looking at someone else's family photos and being polite.

Mothering Sunday was yesterday and for me whilst I have a lovely day with my family, my children and my parents in law who I love dearly; it's also a time for reflection.

I was a truly precocious nine year old and turned into a bratty teenager.  My Mum was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when I was just 14.  It's such an impressionable age, torn between thinking you are grown up enough to make decisions for yourself in some respect but being child enough to need your Mum and Dad.

I always had a better relationship with my Dad than my Mum. He was more relaxed, joked with my friends; always had a smile.  Mum was more stern, stricter and in control.  Now I see she was the glue that held us all together and had to be the one to keep everything running smoothly.  How much pain had she gone through and just gritted her teeth and got on with it?

Mum went through chemotherapy and radio therapy. She spent weeks in hospital and at Trinity Hospice in Clapham.  I couldn't visit.  I couldn't face it.  I buried my head in the sand. If I ignored it, it would go away.  I was jealous of my brother, who; when Mum was home would lie next to her on her bed and talk to her for hours and hours. 

School was a safe haven. I was naughty but a cheeky naughty, not nasty.  I was too distracted to really apply myself and failed most of my GCSE's.  By then Dad had retired at 65 having been a civil servant. My older brother and I had to go to work to help pay the bills. So at 16 I was in the big wide world of employment. 

It was a tough couple of years. I really thought I was grown up, earning money, paying for driving lessons; I had a boyfriend and felt quite independent.  My relationship with my Mum at this time was still rather strained. She could see my relationship wasn't great but being the stubborn bugger I was I dug my heels in and refused to listen. 

A month after my 18th birthday at the age of 59, my Mum passed away in Trinity Hospice. I wasn't there and whilst it was expected, it was unexpected.  I felt so lost without my Mum.

I have now spent more of my lifetime without my Mum than I had with her.  When I am with my children and I am speaking to them or telling them off. If we are having fun and creating lasting memories. I realise I am proud to say:

I am turning into my Mum.



7 comments:

  1. I just cried reading this. I remember those times, you were all a second family to me, I remember showing up at your house so many times and being told "I'll just make you a small plate of food" and what would actually arrive would be a whole roast dinner! Your Mum was indeed a formidable woman and would often strike the fear of God into me, almost as much as my own Mother. And there is not a Remembrance Sunday that goes by when I don't think of your Dad. As you said whilst you may be turning into your Mum you are right to be proud she was a good person through and through. I know she would be proud of you and the Mother you have become yourself. Xxx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, I definitely miss all the baked goodies and lovely food. One place I lack and am not turning into her. I wish I paid more attention all the time she tried to teach me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A bittersweet post. Beautifully poignant. Thank you for sharing your story.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How sad to lose your mum at such a young age, I'm sure she'd have been so proud of you. Thank you for sharing your story x

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you, the old cliche "time is a great healer" really does ring true.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Such a poignant post which has reminded me how important it is to stop and realise those that are part of us, that have influenced us, and acknowledge our own behaviours of the past.

    ReplyDelete