It’s her birthday today. And it almost slipped my mind. Time is a thief.
Over six years, memories have faded. The sense of loss comes and goes, but does not ache like it did. I do not hear her voice in my ear or her presence at my shoulder. It still feels wrong. I still feel like I was robbed.
I often reflect on what she would be thinking. Of her exasperation at the muddle that surrounds my father. His disordered sense of priorities. His mess. When I get frustrated, I think about how she would want me to persevere and take care of things. How she understood my father when he seemed incomprehensible to the rest of us.
She was a worrier. She used to make herself sick as we floundered. She would be very pleased for me today, but still wringing her hands for others as she observes us from the netherworld in which she exists, in my imagination.
She would be pleased to have discovered that, in many cases, things really did turn out for the best.
Covid would make her angry. She would be railing at the stupidity of extremists, idealogues and vaccine deniers. If she was here, she would, at times, make pointed remarks designed to puncture my self-centredness. If she was happy and healthy, she would not be handing out compliments. If praise came, it would be oblique. Slanting out of some other remark so you could catch it, slippery in your hands, and claim it as your own.
If she was here. Everybody would be on an even keel. Instead of bobbing about on dark, uncertain seas. We are unmoored.
I am not my mother. I have not her patience, nor her tact. I am, I think, more courageous … although not so brave, really. My life experience has given me greater expectations. I am more free with my affection, and also more selfish. Everything I have, that I am, is built upon my mother. She is my foundation.