Is it me or is every holiday, awareness day, celebration, commercial nonsense etc now much bigger than they used to be? World Book Day is like Halloween, Halloween is like Christmas and Christmas is… well it’s still Christmas but it starts in November.
Mother’s Day for me was always a time my family got together because we usually got together for a roast on a Sunday anyway. The only difference would be bunches of flowers and boxes of chocolates for Mum (she liked colourful arrangements and the smell of freesias, walnut whips and cards with ridiculous cheesy poems in).
Now the Mother’s Day machine is so big I get a an email from retail companies a month in advance asking my if I want to opt out of the barrage of gift options. It’s nice I can opt out (not having a mother or a mother in law), but it’s also annoying receiving those emails as a reminder of that.
My last Mother’s Day with my mum… I think I actually saw her on the Saturday. I think that was the day a lot of family came to gather around her bedside. She was at home, in a bed in the living room, dying of cancer. Just over a week later, she died. That was 2017.
You would think I’d be over it by now. I tell myself; well, if she was alive you’d still be holding the phone away from your ear when she tells you a long and pointless story and won’t let you speak. You’d still be annoyed when she expects you to have watch Britain’s Got Talent/Coronation Street and get ready to discuss it. And she wouldn’t drive down to visit you anyway as she’d grown fearful of driving “far” in her old age.
But that’s not the point. I still struggle with the why? It just feels so crazy to me that my sister had her mother her entire life, because her life ended at 45. And likewise my mum had her mum her entire life, but that’s because she died at 73 and good old Nan died at 101, three years later. My sister and my own mother never felt the pain of losing a mother, but I felt the pain of losing them.
I went to town on my own to watch Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story when it came out (it was wonderful). I expected to be a big sobbing mess because it was my mum’s favourite film and we played “Somewhere” at her funeral. I had a few little cries, but I made it through without becoming a mess!
Weirdly, I only realised at the moment it started that my mum would never see it, she would never even know they remade it so beautifully and that made me sad. I don’t normally dwell on what she’s missing out on, I’m usually more focussed on my kids and what they’ve been robbed of – the special grandparents experience that I had. Ultimately I was uplifted by watching this film that meant so much to my mum. When Tony sang “Goodnight, goodnight, sleep well and when you dream, dream of me…” I suddenly remembered how my mum used to sing that to us all the time at bedtime. A tiny thing that was part of our childhood and something I can’t tell my mum I remember and still treasure.
Mother’s Day is at least mine now. I am the mother of the day. And I know I’ll see lots of lovely posts about those of us who don’t have their mothers, are not mothers ourselves, have a difficult relationship with our mothers and so on… and I have the joy of my two magical children to help me through, but it will still be a day tinged with sadness for me.
Of course once it’s out of the way there will be plenty of Father’s Day opt out emails flooding into my inbox to contend with.