We all get those times, as parents, when we need a helping hand, when we need someone to tell us what to do, or how to do it, or at least give us a confidence boost and tell us we’re not ballsing the whole thing up and that our kid is not gonna grow up to be the worst person ever. That someone for a lot of people is their Mum or Dad.
Not having either, and finding myself pregnant for the first time at age 25, I vividly remember back to a night at home around 7 months in, stroking my bump, thinking about what the future was going to bring for us now that we were to be three, and admittedly, feeling a little alone. Hubby was there of course, always was, we were very much in this together so nights in for me meant the same for him, but alone in the sense of not feeling part of someone anymore like this bump was of me, even though my Mother had been gone over 4 years at this point.
Being without parents isn’t any fun at all, I was young but I’m pretty sure losing your parents is the same no matter your age, it hurts just the same. Finding your place in the world, progressing your career, making your own home, getting married, giving birth are all significant times in your life when you could do with the guidance of a Mum or Dad, but for me, more than anything, losing the role of being someone’s child hit me quite hard, and still hurts, as does every birthday with no Daughter card.
You definitely lose a piece of your identity when you become an orfan (there has to be a softer word out there!), after all, your parents have made you the person you are today, but I do believe that even after their days, our parents do continue to live on in the way we honor the traditions and family rituals we were raised upon, and the passing of those traits to our children.
I remember meeting my son for the very first time. A tiny little 6lb-11oz bundle wrapped up in a crispy white towel, crying his eyes out and handed to me, it was (cliché alert), the best moment of my life up to that point. I remember thinking of my mum and how cool it would have been if our memories went back that far and if I could actually remember the first time I ever met her, and not just her last breath, and also wondered what she would have been like if she was here with us now, no doubt she would have been crying too!
She’s not here to help me rare them, school them, babysit them, or purely for advice but I’m a true believer that our relationships with our parents lives on in our hearts, minds, and memories, which are shared often with the children, certainly with ‘Mama Bear’, my last gift to my Mother, who cuddles them every night before bed.
But for me, her not knowing my children brings a tear to my eye. Their personalities, cheeky smiles, funny laughs, all of the things that make them them she would have adored, and the sense of humour apple certainly hasn’t fallen far from the tree, for me nor them.
Upholding traditions is key when trying not to lose the memory of loved ones lost but for me, keeping the past present is a must. We talk about her lots, we listen to her singing, we look through old photographs and I really do feel that the children almost know her, or at least the type of person she was.
My mum was beautiful, inside and out, she was caring, she was funny, she was loving and she was as graceful as ever in defeat. Being without her even today, 16 years on is tough, but would I have raised my children differently if she’d been by my side? Probably not, I am after all my Mother’s Daughter.