This coming Sunday, October 9th, will be a tough day for me.

It is every year.

It is a day I dread. I know it is coming, it is as inevitable as, well, the days of the week. I cannot avoid it.


In 1993, I was 20 years old, at college and living away from home with the boy who would later become my husband. I was crazy in love and never wanted to leave him, never wanted to spend a weekend back at home without him.

I knew my mother missed me and would have liked me to visit more. But, hey, I was young and selfish and thoughtless. And, like all 20 year olds, I thought there was all the time in the world.

I called home one day in September, from a phone booth outside the Post Office, (back in the days when we actually used phone booths), and spoke to my mother, who told me she had been to see the doctor and was going into hospital for some tests.

The next time I called home I was told she was in Intensive Care.

One month later, on October 9th, she died. I was holding her hand when she took her last breath. The last thing she ever said to me was, “I love you, darlin’”. She was 53.

Turns out I didn’t have time.

I will never know what our relationship as two adult women would have been like.

I will always be the rebellious kid that left home without a backward glance. The girl who fought tooth and nail with her. The girl who rolled her eyes at her. The girl who loved her to bits but wasn’t able to show it. The girl who felt she never ‘got’ me, not the way she did my sister. The girl who was insanely jealous of their relationship.

At her funeral, in that final moment that we had to say goodbye, just before the undertaker closed the casket, in front of a crowded room of people, I bent down and kissed her cold cheek and the reality of it hit me. This was it. I think I had to be helped up. I’m not sure, but I think it was the boy I loved.

An old friend of hers I remembered from my childhood, (because she had a pet tortoise that fascinated me, she seemed so exotic and I loved visiting her house), came over, hugged me, looked me in the eyes and said, “She was so proud of you.” I never knew.

So, Sunday will come and I will think of her. We will talk about her and laugh at good memories. She was a very funny lady.

I will cry. And I will miss her.

I love you Mam.


Copyright, 2016,

All rights reserved.






19 thoughts on “Mam

  1. It happens with most of us at certain point in life..but remember one thing ..nobody could have made our parents happier than we did and that happiness stems right from our infancy ..our smiles, our crying, our tantrums, our dreams.
    We unknowingly help in making their lives better and we should cherish it forever, instead of lamenting over lies(our part of the story), isn’t it ?

  2. She must have been proud of that young woman so hungry for life, so eager for it that she left without looking back.
    She must have been proud of your autonomy, of how you didn’t need her.
    Yes, it probably hurt, because it always hurts when our kids leave the nest. But there is also such pride when we see them ably handle their life.

    Don’t feel guilty or selfish. She loved you, she said so herself. What use would she have had to lie with her last breath? Just accept it for what it is, are last gift to you, the gift of acceptance of you for all that you were, hr way of telling you that she was proud of you. That you are enough.

    If she’d wanted you to change your life for her, she would have told you about her health troubles before. She didn’t. There is nothing you could have done differently that would have made her happy.

    These are all the things I read into her last words to you.

    Sending love and hugs for this upcoming difficult time.

  3. I’m so sorry Kat. It’s a sad thing that when someone we love dies, we’re left thinking ‘I wish’ – I wish I could have told them I loved them, or did they love me etc. All of those emotions are there under the surface, it’s just we’re all so bad at communicating them. But really she knew how much you loved her and you did the best thing to show that – to be holding her hand as she slipped away. That will be the thing that was in her mind – how much she loved her kids and how grateful she was to have you with her.
    Take care these next few days and how lovely to know that you’ll be smiling too on Sunday, at happy memories of a funny lady.
    Take care X

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