That’s when the itch starts.
That’s what they say. For me, this year, the itch refers to the amount of time since my Mum passed away; it’s the same amount of time since my daughter way born. One a celebration. The other is when my daughter was born.
Yes, I’ve got that right.
Of course, I miss her. Every time I speak to my Dad, I’m reminded that she’s not there. A void. She’s the semi-colon in each conversation; holding us together, like century-old glue.
I don’t talk about my Mum to many people. Yet, without a single prompt, the 2 November is always a bitch of a day. I’m grumpy, with a side of anger. It’s more than a memory; it’s a reflex.
This evening, I was reminded of that time in 2007. The hospital visits, the driving there and the car park charges, the people I met and spoke with. You see, I’ve started a new business. It’s hard. I’m feeling some stress, for obvious reasons. And then I remembered that, during the darkest moments of that year — and let’s not forget to add that I had a newborn baby to deal with, as well as moving house and starting a new job — I got through it. And there is a conversation that stops me sinking, and giving up.
My Mum, just a few days from the end. We had a chat. Or rather, she spoke and I listened. My Mum told me how proud she was of all the difficulties I’d overcome, how I’d picked myself up and applied myself again and again. She reminded me that I’d hit rock bottom before. She told me her perspective of my achievements — some I’d not even known about, or acknowledged as actual successes. Her perspective.
And that told me something. To get perspective. To not assume I had all the answers or knew everything, or had failed because I thought I’d failed. And so, now, I look back to that when I feel overwhelmed. To a time when a woman who had lived for 59 years and spent three of them battling an illness that she knew would beat her. And yet, she still fought; waking every day and reading, or chatting, or making other people smile.
I owe my Mum a lot. I miss her.