Today is the 11th anniversary of the death of my mum. Made more memorable by the fact her Birthday was the 11 / 11 and when we have that minute silence on Armistice Day I don’t think of poppy fields, I think of my mum. Much the same as when the digital clock is showing 11:11. Bit of a habit.
Here she is/was in her full-blown twenty-something glory, looking (I always thought) like a proper movie star. I was never sure why she was holding that monkey but I think this was a pretty regular occurrence on the British Beach at one stage. Poor thing (the monkey, not mother). This photo (along with another which I MUST dig out because it’s just so damned gorgeous but I think it’s in the loft) was always my favourite picture of my mum because she just looks so happy*. The one on the left was taken when she and my dad were courting and I think the eyes say it all… cheeky minx – and the bottom one is of their Engagement on the Isle of Wight - oh the glamour!
Aged 62, she‘d only been a grandmother for 4 ½ years and my anger at her leaving us so suddenly at this stupidly early age tormented me for a long time. Even moreso because one of the last things she said to me was “I’m glad you’re making another go of it” (my marriage at the time) and for ages after I thought I SHOULD be making my train wreck marriage work just because she’d said this and I took it like a “final dying wish” thing that I was honour bound to make succeed in memory of her.
But whenever I looked at photographs of her like these and saw the sheer happiness that filled her face when she looked at my dad, I knew that where I was, was quite simply the wrong place.
And so I got out.
Which I’m still not sure how she’d have reacted to. Mother was a funny fish. She could be breezy and surprising one minute then unhappy and unapproachable the next. I was never sure how to handle her. I think she felt the same with me – which is why we never really had that 'mother-daughter' thing.
But I do know that if she hadn’t died just at that precarious time in my life, then I’d probably still be trying to make the best of a miserable marriage because I thought that was what she would expect of me. The fact she wasn’t around for me to disappoint any longer made my decision easier.
And I was going to make this an upbeat post too!
*in later years, the result of being with Dad and/or a glass of Sherry. Result of both = state of unparallelled bliss!