A story of:
- Mortal – (of a living human being, often in contrast to a divine being) subject to death
- Mortal – Very drunk!
Me and my sister (and probably my dad) have really been missing my mam over the past couple of weeks – good things we’ve wanted to tell her and gripes we would have always told her first. It’s become difficult to hear her distinct voice as crystal clear as we used to.
In our last conversation, my sister and I both remarked on how much we keep expecting her to burst through the front door…it is setting in that she never will. In some ways it is feeling more final with every day.
And then in other moments – not at all.
2 weeks ago, I made the homeward bound trip back up to Cumbria for one night. It was the quickest turn around and most knackering weekend I’ve had in a long time:
rehearsal- 2 trains – drive – party – sleep – drive – 2 trains – rehearsal
The party is the most important part.
It was a ‘not-a-birthday-party’ party, disguised as a Beckstone Close get-together.
Mainly for the woman at number 1, turning 80. She is my second mother, the head of the street, renowned cake maker, everyone’s best friend and the youngest octogenarian (with the best sense of humour) I have been lucky to know and love. We couldn’t have a birthday party for her as, people who do that on their 80th ‘die a few days after’ – her words, not mine. Scarily, she had a stroke shortly after her actual birthday.
Come on world – we’ve barely started 2017, and you’re trying to take another mother from me too?? But she was fine, a little slower perhaps, and with a walking stick, but still the fighting-fit neighbour we all love. So my visit was now more important.
I was so conflicted about this event – I wanted to go to celebrate, of course, but being in the local pub surrounded by the people from the street I grew up on, would it make the absence of my mam that little bit too real?
I was a little apprehensive, a little reserved to begin with, but as soon as I saw the non-birthday girl I was instantly settled. She was wearing a very delicate gold chain that I remember, so vividly, my mam wearing; how it sat around her neck and how she’d run it through her fingers when she was talking or thinking. We gave it to her shortly after my mam left us – from one mother to another.
She’d not been sat down 5 minutes and she showed me the chain, now around her neck, now between her fingers and now keeping hold of her late husbands wedding ring – ‘they’re both together and they’re both with us’ she said.
Yes, yes they were.
And as the whisky flowed, the stories came out – of the street, of neighbours, of hilarious mishaps, of my mam, of her funeral, of home, of everything. And as we said goodbye and stumbled and staggered home I realised, mortality had taken my mam from us, but each one of us had kept a bit of her safe with us – a necklace, a memory, a story, a feeling and I know that that will never change.
It’s hard to hear her voice, but I just have to listen to it in other peoples’. I cannot see her, but I can picture her as the heart of so many memories.
People are not taken from us – they are just shared out between those that loved them dearly, in a completely new way.
It’s not final. And never will be. It can’t be. I won’t let it be. We wont let it be.