It is eleven years ago today that mum died. Those eleven years seem to have passed very quickly, yet that day itself is hazy in my memory. I’d spent a lot of time in the hospice with her when we thought she might die at any moment, but after a few days I needed to go back to my own family, and I was in school when the news came from my sister that she had finally breathed her last.
I had a bit of a moment at work today, not only because of mum, but thinking of dad in hospital and how I’ve allowed work to get in the way of getting over to see him. As it seems to be getting in the way of pretty much everything that isn’t work, and lots of things that are, for that matter, just now. Fortunately it was a training day so I wasn’t in front of a class and between a bit of staring into the middle distance and swallowing hard I don’t think anyone noticed. I get moments like that more often when there isn’t any particular anniversary though. Often it’s when Katie does or says something that makes me think how mum would have loved to see or hear her as she loved all her grandchildren, and of course her own children, and countless other peoples’ too, for that matter.
That scrap of paper above, with the papal rosary mum wore round her neck in the hospice, contains the jotted prayers I wrote when we had a little ‘service’ at a bunk-barn in Settle for mum’s 70th. One of the lines was: ‘we thank you that she has lived to see our children born and growing’ and I always feel a little sad that Katie is the only one of her grandchildren that she never did get to meet.
Maybe when we take Jack to university on Sunday, I will have another of those face tightening, lip biting moments as I remember mum hugging me goodbye as she and dad left me at Oxford. I couldn’t imagine then how much I’d miss her.