Today is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 72.
I remember vividly her birthday last year. She, me and all the Milks, my sister, her husband and their girls, and a special day out at London Zoo. I’d just had my fringe cut and, as always, was nervous what my mum would think. At 33, her opinion was still the most important to me. A daughter dancing for her mother’s attention.
We had taken a picnic. A trademark affair. Couscous and roasted vegetable salad, an assortment of sandwiches, delicious rye bread from the deli. We sat on a rounded bench encircling a dwarf maple, our feast of delights spread out around us, carefully placed among the splattering of pigeon droppings. Later, we sang happy birthday as my mother pretended to hide under the hood of her jacket, much to the delight of the children, as we tucked into the most delicious coffee cake I’ve ever eaten. (made by my clever sis). And I remember thinking fleetingly – “Could this be the last time we all celebrate together like this?”.
I don’t know why this thought came into my head that day. Perhaps holding something perfect in your hands makes you fear the loss of it.
2 months later as we all sat together on my mother’s old red velvet sofa and posed for a photograph the same thought came into my head. “What if this is the last picture we have all together like this?”
2 months later came the diagnosis, and 4 months later my mother passed away.
I don’t know why, and I don’t know how, but I knew what was to come. Instinct wrought from intimacy.
I miss you mummy, every day.
Brahm’s lullaby – played at her funeral.