Monday, March 17, 2008

To: Mabel Eliza Williams


I do this every year on my mum’s birthday and, frankly, this year is no different. She would have turned 74 yesterday. I miss her like crazy. She died of stomach cancer in 1995 and she never met my kids. She would have adored them. I often say that she’d still be living here to help with the "babies" even 8 years after the youngest was born.

I often wonder what my life would have been like had she lived. I know that I probably wouldn’t have appreciated her like I do now. I probably wouldn’t call her as much as she’d like. I’d definitely take advantage of the free babysitting and not even think twice about it. As it stands now I only call my dad every few weeks and it’s a total chore. I love him but he drives me crazy. I’d probably feel the same about my mother. Death really makes you realize what you had. I wish she was here for me to take take for granted.

Everything you remember is wonderful, isn’t it? A happy memory. Like when those old actresses were filmed with a greasy lens to make them less wrinkly. Our brains seem to have Vaseline on them to romanticize their memories. Like the time when she got drunk on St. Paddy’s day/her birthday at my favourite bar in front of all my friends. If I think back fondly on it it was a funny bonding moment where I realized my mother was a person just like me. But if I remember the actual moment all those years ago, I was humiliated to tears, angry and sober because I had to take care of her all night.

It took time and perspective to understand where she was coming from now that I’m a mother too. About staying up all night waiting for your kids to come home. About being so tired at the end of the work day that you go to bed at 9pm. About the guilt you feel when you, well, pretty much do anything related to the kids. About how you sacrifice things so the kids can have what they want and they don’t even know it or care. I wish I could tell her that I understand now. I get it.

I still miss her everday. I cry less but I still cry. Sometimes a song will get me out of nowhere and create a perfect storm of sap. Last time it happened was about a month ago when I heard a Spice Girls song. Yes, I know... but I can’t predict when it’s going to happen, it just does. Last year I got a tattoo to always keep her close but I don’t really need one since she’s never ever far from my heart. But the tat is in her handwriting so it’s really special to me.

So I know none of you knew her (she died the year I got the internet) but if you could spare a happy thought to wherever she may be right now, that’d be great. I know she’s somewhere making up words at Scrabble like she used to and making everyone nuts. Hiya Ma! Happy birthday!

Your daughter,
Karen

Mum Circa 1977...
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