I originally wrote parts of this as a section in my post Inspirational, about women I know who set an example that I aspire to.
Today is the anniversary of my sister’s birth. We didn’t keep her for long and I don’t want to write about her. I do want to acknowledge how amazing my mum is though.
My amazing mum
Most people think their mum’s amazing. Not everyone, some people have mums who haven’t had the strength to be amazing to their kids.
Well my mum is beyond amazing. She was a full time working mum in the 80s when that was relatively unusual. She’s like me in many ways, she trusts easily and sees friendship where the other person sees an acquaintance. So, like me, she gets hurt often, repeatedly and without the person hurting her even being aware. As I was growing up I vaguely knew that she wasn’t part of the group of mums at the school gate. I didn’t go on days out with my class mates because she wasn’t friends with their mums. She didn’t fit in. She must have felt the same loneliness and exclusion that I sometimes feel now.
My mum is my best friend. She’s the only person I know who (apart from himself) I can trust completely. I can tell her anything. She’ll always be there. She won’t leave me hanging, excluded from a conversation, a day trip with the kids, a night out.
My mum is also the strongest woman I know. We lost my baby sister when she was 5 weeks old, almost 26 years ago. Mum went through something a million times worse than our losing boy #3 at twenty weeks pregnancy.
In the weeks, months, and years that followed my mum broke down and cried when she needed to. I remember finding her in the kitchen just sobbing over something trivial and holding her close – we all clung to one another: mum, dad, me and my brother. My dad went back to work when he needed to. My brother and I went back to school almost immediately, to keep our routine I suppose. My grandma came to stay and then, eventually, mum coped alone in the house all day. She went back to work too though, when she was ready. She’s always been honest and open about my sister, she doesn’t shy away from acknowledging that she had three children but only two of us stayed with her and dad. I know that, over 25 years on, it still hurts her every day. She has a photo of my sister on her bedside table and my boys know that’s who it is.
Mum and Dad planted a cherry tree the summer after we lost my sister, in the grounds of the church near their house. They visit it regularly and take a photo every year, we had a family portrait taken next to it about 15 years ago. Just as we have ours to remember boy3.
One reason why I haven’t felt the need for counselling after our loss is that my mum is the perfect support. She demonstrates that I can get through this, and also that I can fall apart when I need to – that doing so is a good thing. I feel that I’m strong enough to get through life without boy3 because my mum shows me the way: practically and emotionally. It can be done because it must be done. She’s proof and she’s supported me to help me get to where I am.
My greatest fear (after something happening to us, leaving the boys alone) is losing my mum. I hope that she follows my grandma’s example and lives well into her 90s. It’s very selfish, but she’s my mum and I love her and I don’t know what I would do without her.
One day I might show her this, so she knows that she’s amazing.
(P.S. Dad is amazing too, the strongest man is one who isn’t afraid to cry.)