Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Happy Birthday, Mum
This is my Mum and Dad’s engagement photo, so as you can imagine it’s quite a few years old (don’t you just love Mum’s beauty spot?). Dad died nearly 7 years ago, but today is Mum’s 75th Birthday. What’s a man to say, except Happy Birthday, Mum!
Some years ago, there was an incident involving me, my sister, her 4th husband and the Mafia (yes, really – and Big Lou wasn’t involved) which resulted in me losing an enormous amount of money and almost going bankrupt. Believe me, it’s a long story, but consequently I ceased contact with my entire family for about 6 years. During that time, my father died in hospital of cancer, and I wasn’t told until about a week after he was buried. I was devastated, and for a period I think I hated all of them for being so unbelievably cruel.
A few years later, during the period of my marriage break-up, I attended a conference at Cambridge University, and remember sitting in my room one day, feeling more desperate than I ever would have thought possible. At that moment, and after 6 years of silence, I knew I needed to speak to my mother. I don’t think I’d ever felt that need before, but I acknowledged it for what it was and, with a sense of trepidation, dialled her number. It took me three attempts, as it was so long since I’d called her that I kept getting the number wrong, but finally she answered the phone. At the sound of her voice, I started to cry, and didn’t stop for about 45 minutes. In fact, this memory is so strong that – typing this – my eyes are welling up again.
Mum just listened, and did her best to offer some comfort, and I went round to see her a couple of days later when I got back to London. I can only say that calling her was the best thing I’ve ever done (okay, one of the best things I’ve ever done). We’re closer than we’ve ever been, and I love her to bits. We’ve learnt not to talk of the past, and just to enjoy the present, because that’s the only way it can work for us. And I regret those years when, to all intents and purposes, I had no family.
So, once again, Mum… Happy Birthday. I love you.