It’s a while since I’ve written but Mum has been on my mind a lot this week. Perhaps it’s because we’re in the later stages of selling the family home – her home – and perhaps it’s because I’m starting to miss her. I’ve been missing the Mum I grew up with for years, since dementia stole a place in our lives, but now, alongside that, I’m missing the Mum I visited in her care home, the Mum I sang with, the Mum who knew me but didn’t know me.
A song has been playing in my head for a few days. It’s nearly 40 years old and I remember listening to it on the sunny summer afternoons of my childhood. The sun always shine in those memories unless Mum was taking me to watch some cricket, in which case it always seemed to rain. Time Passages by Al Stewart contains the lines:
“Well, I’m not the kind to live in the past/The years run too short and the days too fast…” .
It’s quite quite difficult not to live in the past at the moment. So many things seem to summon memories. This morning, it was the news of the death of Tom Pritchard at the age of 100 in his native New Zealand.
Tom played cricket for Warwickshire in the 1940s and 50s and he was Mum’s favourite player. I remember Mum pointing him out to me on one of the rare days we spent at Edgbaston when it didn’t rain. He was back on a visit. She told me what a wonderful bowler he’d been and what a great ambassador he’d become for his adopted home. She loved remembering the great cricketers she’d seen at Edgbaston. How cruel that those memories, along with the rest, were denied her in her last few years.
As I write this, I’m glancing out of the kitchen window. The sun is shining and the day promises to be warm and sultry. It’s the sort of day Mum loved so much. One of the last things Mum said to me, a couple of weeks before she died, seems appropriate today:
“I want to go to my garden.”
I think that today, as so often in the past, I’ll take my lead from her.