One year ago today, I was coming to terms with Mum not being with us any more. After a few short weeks of preparation and a few short days in the wonderful, calming and caring Springhill Hospice, Mum left us.
A woman with wisdom and tolerance, driven by an unwavering moral compass, Mum taught me many things. She gave me just enough rope to get myself into trouble, but never quite enough to hang myself. Her ready smile hid a steely determination, making her a fearsome adversary but a powerful ally.
She looked after cats. She liked a bacardi or two (ahem). She loved her grandchildren. These things are all true.
My most enduring memory is of her pulling her face at a mug of tea in the hospice. “Oh, she’s not thirsty”, everyone understandably thought. She was just bored of tea. I made her a quick coffee which she drank, then that night I took her some cheapo milk-shake mix which she sipped quietly through a straw, smiling.
Last night, the kids and I went to see Mum’s Lights Of Love card, hung on one of the Christmas trees outside the Hospice. We shared a moment of respect, then each of them dropped a pound into the collection box on reception before we went home and they carried on playing.
These kids are the next part of life’s great adventure, growing into the spaces left by our lost loved ones. We shouldn’t dwell on the loss, but simply remember the people we’ve loved with the fondness they’d hope for.
So now, we’ll build the best life we can for the people who are with us. It’s the right thing to do.