Anyone who knows me well, or has known me for some time, will also know that my relationship with the rest of my family has been a particularly difficult one. For six years or thereabouts – and until about 4 years ago – I was completely ostracised for reasons that even now are effectively unbeknown to me, and during that period I not only lost my Dad (and missed his funeral, as no-one deigned to tell me of his death until such time as it was too late for me to attend) but also went through some personal traumas that I never want to go through again. My life at that time was hard indeed and I had to contend with everything that was happening in the knowledge that my only support would be the strength that I found within myself. I still have issues with regard to Dad, and my relationship with him, but fortunately I no longer take responsibility for his bitterness towards me and the jealousy he felt.
The first time that I spoke to Mum again was when my ex-wife was in the final stages of destroying our marriage. I was at a conference in Cambridge, and she had been particularly horrible to me on the telephone that morning; I recall that I had a seminar to attend, but in my angst I just wanted to be alone and so went back to my hotel room to sit and… well, think. At some point, I realised that tears were rolling down my face and I had the phone in my hand.
It took three or four attempts before I got Mum's number right, and at first she thought that it was my brother on the phone. But as soon as she said my name I started to cry again, and continued – unable to speak – for about half an hour. Then I managed to describe for her the mess that my life had become; she just told me to get round there the moment I arrived back in London, and since that time we’ve been as close as we could possibly hope to be under the circumstances. But it can be hard at times to separate present from past, and consequently we don’t really talk about what happened between us. Some things simply can’t be resolved, and I guess that’s one of them.
Mum turned seventy-five last January, and as I write this post she’ll be succumbing to a general anaesthetic whilst her surgeon prepares to operate on one of her ankles, fusing the bones together and (hopefully) giving her the ability to walk without pain again. I found myself in a panic last night when I thought about her age and her vulnerability, and now – this morning – I’m keeping myself busy before going to spend some time at the hospital with her. I’m not allowing myself to think anything other than “Everything is going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay.”
I could go on, and on, and on with this post. But actually, all I really want to say is this…
I love you, Mum, and I’ll see you later.