Sunday 15 March 2015

Mothering Sunday and my birthday

As mum reaches her ninetieth birthday I'm getting closer to another milestone; I'm nearer sixty than fifty now. As well as the solar eclipse on Friday two other worlds have collided this weekend - it was my birthday yesterday - the first one where mum was not able to send me a birthday card nor ring me - and today is Mothers' Day - the first time I won't be able to pick up the phone to speak to her. Hey ho. The times they are a changing. I'm very lucky to have had an attentive and loving mum - many don't - and so lucky to have a mum strong enough to survive a massive stroke - again many don't.

Mum hates the phrase Mothers' Day and insists it's Mothering Sunday. She often went to the Mothering Sunday church service at St. Leonard's and always said it was a special Sunday set aside for girls in service - maids, housekeepers and the like - to go home to see their mothers.

Still next Thursday or Friday we'll go and see her. It'll be interesting to see if she can remember it was my birthday and Mothering Sunday. She'll likely remember some of it.

The surgeon at New Cross hospital have done a good job on her face and she is now discharged. I will be glad to see it healed - last time I saw mum her face was full of black stitches - but in no pain. What a year this has been! The stroke was last April and we are just coming to terms with hospital visits, travelling with her in ambulances, seeing consultants and carers, nurses and nursing home matrons.

Mum has, thankfully, recovered from her bedsore, is eating well and enjoys a sherry. She still likes her cups of tea, isn't in much pain and likes to talk. It would be good to see her sitting out but she hates the hoist - preferring the comfort of her bed. Would I be any different aged ninety, following a stroke?
On Thursday we went for a birthday meal, a scrumptious fish platter. Yesterday - a dull, cool March day, we went for a bucks fizz and back for our party in the evening. Three of us, from two writers' groups, read fiction to our guests. My reading was from chapter one of my novel 'Coming of Age'. How timely that I interviewed mum long before her stroke so her recall about my great aunt, Eliza Augusta, the main protagonist, was very very sharp. Mina read her short story, The Barn and Sue read a powerful monologue as if written by a thug in a comprehensive school, with a frightening ending.
Each piece had its strengths - and were refreshingly different. It's all good prac for reading in front of an audience.

It's usually a sign that it's been a hard winter when daffodils are still closed by mid-March - my birthday. In fact it has been a sunny winter, but the last two weeks have been cool so the buds have stayed tightly closed. After a mild winter the daffodils can be over by March 14th, with yellow petals withered and turning brown - this year the plants are up and just ready to burst open. After a very cold winter, sometimes with snow and ice on the ground for weeks, daffodils might still be struggling to emerge from the still-cold soil. Maybe only an inch or two showing above the ground. My birthday is a good marker in more ways than one.  

Now that I have some of mum's belongings in our house, safe from builders' claw hammers!, I was able to post an ensemble picture of mum and her favourite pieces of china for Mothers' Day aka Mothering Sunday. The photograph of her as baby - one she never liked - and the ornate Italian table centre appear in my novel 'Coming of Age '. The photograph is ninety years old and the table centre belonged to Eliza Augusta. All are important details in my novel. Important artefacts in my family history. Things aren't as important as people but they are reminders of lives led, the people who led them, and our lives as children. Happy birthday to me for yesterday and happy Mothers' Day. I hope mum can enjoy something of it!