I’ve just returned from a two week holiday. I had a lovely time, since you ask. It meant I went almost three weeks without seeing Mum, though I thought about her a lot while I was away. It’s almost seven years since her diagnosis, prompting reflections on how much our family’s lives have changed in that time. It feels so much longer – my father died seven years ago today, Mum was diagnosed a matter of weeks later, and everything was different from that point onwards. Not all the change is bad – some relationships are stronger – but you won’t be surprised that February isn’t my favourite month!
My first visit to see Mum after a break is always accompanied by a degree of trepidation. Will I notice a difference? More importantly, will Mum have any idea who I am or why I’m there? The answer to those questions was no, possibly, and I’m not sure. So, no change really.
As always, I longed to share my holiday with Mum. I showed her my photographs – alarmingly the majority seemed to focus on food and drink – but I’m not sure my stories meant anything to her.
I was away for Mum’s 79th birthday, the first time I hadn’t visited her on February 3rd for several years. I took a card and present with me yesterday but managed to forget to deliver them. Oh, the irony!
At least I can still remember Mum’s past birthdays, such as the time we tried fondu for the first time. Dad had won a fondu set in a raffle – it was about the only thing he ever won – and Mum embraced this continental adventure by making four sauces into which we could dip our freshly-cremated steak. At least I would have dipped if I could have held on to my steak pieces, most of which fell off my fork. But, beyond the memory of mislaid meat, is the smile on Mum’s face. At home, with her family, on her birthday. Long may that picture remain vivid.
Happy birthday Mum. I raise my fork to you. x