‘I’ve forgotten Mum’s birthday’
‘What do you mean?’ He sounded alarmed. It did sound as if I simply meant I had forgotten to buy her a gift, I can see why he might think I had lost my grip with the world.
In my own words I heard so many emotions, I could hear the panic, the guilt, the frustration and the anger like a nest of baby birds rudely awoken. Hope too, the weirdest of them all, chiming in, as if perhaps I might nip out and buy something that morning, make a card, get on the phone to Interflora, bake a cake and beg forgiveness.
My Mum died 3 years ago. I hadn’t really forgotten, my concious mind might have been avoiding the date’s imminent arrival, might have pushed it back behind a shopping list, my to do list and the morning race to get to school, but my subconscious knew all to well it had arrived. It wasn’t until I checked the date to write in my daughter’s reading diary that concious and subconscious mind collided and I suddenly realised why I had woken up feeling so agitated.
‘What do you normally do?’ he asked.
‘I’m not sure.’ I never plan anything. Usually something happens on the day, something small and I think that’s it, that’s what she would want me to do. A muddy walk, a slice of cake, a moment listening to the breeze.
Today, minutes later my Aunt phoned, a brief conversation, but magic enough to gently put me back on course. She reminded me mum wouldn’t want me to unhappy. That looking after ourselves was really important. That she would want the children to be happy too.
When we finally left for school my daughter took my hand tight at the main road and gave it a squeeze, A tiny gesture, one she probably does every day. Today it felt like she was wringing out the tears and reminding me to stay in the now. I decided, after school there will be cake.
We walked a different way today, the kids wanted to watch a crane deliver bricks to a house across the road. A lady in a red car pulled up by us to ask directions. I wiped away the tears and tried to help her. Then she started crying to, she was an hour late for a job interview. Sometimes, I think, the universe sends little reminders.
My worries seemed smaller against hers, of course my loss is sad, my loss is huge, but all over the world, people are still trying to go about life. I hope she got there, I hope they still interviewed her. I wish I could have told her she had pulled me back into the world in all its madness and life, but I was round the corner before I realised the world had shifted slightly.
Dad will walk up the hill to Mum’s tree, he will pick some little flowers on the way, we all keep noticing the little things. Just as Mum did.
Thinking of another little girl born today, and her mum x