Mum, I have always written in your cards that I love you with all my heart, and I do, I love you deeply with my whole being. I want to try and explain my love for you but it’s not an easy task talking about an emotion that is invisible yet at the same time tremendously powerful. I have not experienced life without your love so its hard to fathom what that might feel like, maybe a big empty hole, falling forever with no attachment to bind me. Thinking back, I remember you used to say to us as children ‘I love you with all my heart and I did right from the start’. I imagined, as a small child when you said it, you meant the start of time, because that’s how big, warm and safe it felt. When I tell you I love you it does not seem enough, those are words used by everyday people and you are not an everyday person, you are so much more. I could write about my love and appreciation for you until there were no trees left on the earth and a mountain of paper, covering the horizon and blocking out the sun and moon, but I’m not sure I could capture the words, I’m not sure there really are words in this world.
Your very poorly now and carry so much pain and yet you are so incredibly brave, you don’t dwell on that bastard illness, you fight it with that huge spirit of yours. When you first got ill the doctors said at that stage you had no time left, but you were never having that, and went about visualising my sister Laura and I inside your lungs with cloth caps and brooms, sweeping out all the bad, singing as we worked and by some miracle we did it, you improved. We know that it wasn’t really a miracle, it involved the power of thought, coupled with determination, and we know really it worked because of the magic of the love we share. You are so brave, you sing to yourself now to help you to breathe easier and make the pain go away, you tell yourself, believe and sing about how happy and lucky you are. In my minds eye, I can see you stooped and in awful pain struggling as you walk towards Green Lane singing your little song ‘I’m so happy’, it makes me want to cry, you crazy, wonderful, beautiful woman! You see yourself dancing at Claude’s wedding, it’s a long way off but your sheer determination might get you there.
From the day I was born I know without a shadow of a doubt, that you have loved me every moment. I know that you think of me shortly after waking, throughout the day and last thing at night. Your love keeps me safe, I know that you think I am special and I can never really be lonely or lost in any way with your love around me. I can’t describe to you how wonderful it has been to be in receipt of your love, it’s like I won the lottery of life having you as my mum. You have always put me and Laura first, there is not anything you would not give up for your girls and grandchildren, you would go to the ends of the earth and back for each of us. We know you would genuinely die for us, that you feel our pain every bit as much as we do and would willingly carry it for us. It is lucky for all of us that you also share our joy, and our achievements are your best achievements.
Small things give you pleasure, being with your family, being together, sharing a meal and celebrating. I get that now and it is what is important to me too, I wish I had understood that sooner. You have a silly way of looking at us, full of love and pride, it used to embarrass me, now I embrace it. I am turning into you in a little way, I hear you speaking when I speak to my son sometimes but your shoes are too big for me, I could never fit into them. If only I could be as selfless and giving as you, more spiritual and less materialistic. I am trying, as to be a fraction as good a person as you would be amazing.
You are the most giving person and you are gentle and kind, passionate and full of empathy for others. You’re interested in people, not in a nosey way but with concern, you share the troubles and joys of others, you grieve and celebrate and above all try to understand. Your love is as big as the world and as warm as the sun and everybody who has ever known you would agree, we know there is a lot of love for Jean!
I speak to you every day, about six times occasionally but always more than once. We are sometimes deep and meaningful and make sense of the world, put it to rights but often we talk complete mindless rubbish. I know how much it means to you and that talking to your girls keeps you going especially now that awful illness is taking over more and more we are your lifeline and what keeps you going. Mum, I have been meaning to say, you must change that voice mail message, I will help.
I’m frightened sometimes mum, I’m frightened of losing you, of not hearing your voice anymore of not making you laugh. You might have years left, your spirit is still young, but I don’t want to leave it at that without telling you how special you are and how much you have given me. I know that one day you will leave me for a while but you will always be there too, it’s what we believe and we will still talk, I’m absolutely sure of it. You will just be in the next room, the door to that room will not be immediately accessible to me and take me some time to find, but I will find it and you will be waiting there for me.
Your love grows and spreads everywhere, you gave me and taught me empathy and I only work with troubled children now because of the understanding I got from you. You showed me how to reach out to others, really listen and be interested enough to do something to help. How to love, care, communicate and understand the needs of others, understanding the troubles and be there. I’m sure your love is catching and I hope everybody comes down with it. I am blessed to have you as my mum, the children I have worked with have benefitted in a small way because you are my mum.
Your beauty has no comparison in this world, the first sunrise, the deepest colour, the saddest song, and the brightest flower all diminish in your shadow. I was right, there are not words to tell you how I feel, it’s big and warm and makes me cry and laugh at the same time. I won the lottery that’s for sure, I probably jumped a few lifetimes with what you have managed to teach me and the world is a better place for having you in it.
I know that for as long as I live and long after I will be loved by you, and that love comes back at you mum, a million times.
Thank you mum