Happy Birthday Mum

25 Oct

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.

13 Responses to “Happy Birthday Mum”

  1. brinkofbedlam October 25, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    Aw, I’m so sorry. At least you have your precious memories, no-one can take them away. I dread the day I have to go through what you’ve have, I hope I can show the same strength. xxx Kay

  2. Alexander Residence October 25, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    Love to you xxx I remember several moments of thinking like that, instincts are a powerful thing. Strangely mum’s illness suddenly became apparent at a family gathering for my parent’s ruby anniversary. Some of the most beautiful pics of us as a family were taken that day. A beautiful tribute Henrietta, lovely writing. And what a gorgeous photograph too. hugs x

  3. Mrs Teepot October 25, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    oh sweety *massive hugs* coming your way. Beautiful photo of you all together, hold on to those happy memories.

  4. vegemitevixmitevix October 25, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Played the lullaby in honour of your lovely Mum. Beautiful post hun xx

  5. Kirsten Lodge October 25, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Lots of love to you Darling H xxxx

  6. Caroline October 25, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Thinking of you today especially and sending you a big squeezy hug x

  7. Amanda @gidders1 October 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    A big hug on this difficult day x

  8. (Mostly) Yummy Mummy October 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    I can’t even begin to imagine how hard today must be for you but what a beautiful post. Much love H xxx

  9. Maija @ Maija's Mommy Moments October 25, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    I’m sending you hugs. Big huge sympathetic hugs.

  10. Kelloggsville October 25, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    It’s hard isn’t it. I don’t think the pain ever lessens, just the length of time between pangs increases but special days are especially hard. As time goes on I feel less able to voice the memories on the special anniversaries and just melt into my own cave, feeling guilty that it is still so hard to manage the loss. Special thoughts with you today

  11. jfb57 October 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Happy birthday to a very special lady.

  12. Muddling Along October 26, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Oh M2M – sending inadequate hugs xxx

  13. marketingtomilk October 27, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    thank you to everyone for their comments and hugs and thoughts. Still a very difficult time, but means a lot to know people care.


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