This is the first year I haven’t ordered flowers, or sought out exactly the right card for Mother’s Day. It’s the first time in a decade that either I, or my brother or sister, haven’t set out for Bristol to spend time with our mum on Mothering Sunday.
Last year I had planned to spend the weekend with her and was on the verge of checking on train times, when we were locked down. I sent flowers of course and card and phoned on the day itself but it was a poor substitute for being together.
At first it seemed it would only be a few weeks before I could pay my delayed visit, then lockdown was extended once, twice and suddenly it was hard to envisage when I would see her again. My sense of anxiety grew. Mum was not happy. She was coping but she was finding it increasingly hard. Then she got covid.
Knowing that she’s not there in her flat, that there will be no delighted phone call when the bouquet arrives is hard. We all miss her so much and that loss is more painful on a day when mothers are celebrated and spoiled. There’s a huge gap in our family, the whole structure has changed and suddenly I’m the oldest, the matriarch, the mother and the grandmother, the wise woman and the crone.
But, today, I don’t feel wise, or even particularly crone like. Lucy once sent me a card that said “Never too old to need my mum,” which sums it up perfectly. Whatever age we are there is always that bit of us that needs that unconditional love and cherishing that only a mother can give.
For those lucky enough to have had that sort of mum, they have had one of the best starts possible in life.