It would have been Mum’s birthday today. The fifth year without her physical presence here…and yet I do still feel her presence all the time.
If ever there was a free spirit – it was/is my Mum….she lived life to the full. Without a doubt I know she would have loved this new adventure that we’re on in Mexico and fully supported us….and probably moved in too for a while. As we were beginning to think about moving, I was constantly asking myself…what would Mum do. And of course the message came back…Fuck everything, pack your bags and get on with it!!! Her zest for life, for adventures off the beaten track, for curiosity and going with the flow was legendary. I hope that we’ve all picked up some of those qualities from her.
In all honesty I miss her every day but over the years I’ve seen signs of her presence everywhere – and I do believe that there is life after death…that Love conquers death as my good friend Kathleen McGowan has learnt too. Mum loved being out in nature and that’s where I find her presence the most. Plants such as the lavender on our roof top remind me of her so much as well as the hummingbirds that flit from one flower to the next. Or whenever we turn a new corner here in San Miguel and find another thing of beauty I’m always thinking ‘Oh Mum would have loved this!’
This morning as I turned around in the bathroom I saw a flash of the tattoo I had done a couple of years ago in her memory…it represents a Field of Stars which was the name of her book written after walking the Camino de Compestella in 2005 (and I’m determined to republish the book this year!). It’s on my shoulder blade – I forget about it half the time. But this morning it reminded me of her and how she’s out there wandering in her Field of Stars along life’s grand camino.
For a year or so after she passed, I would spend a significant amount of each day either in tears or downright angry that she had moved on and left us to deal with the aftermath. Eventually I realised I had a choice – I could either continue to wallow in pity and grief and let it take me down or take the high road and celebrate all Mum taught us. Fortunately I chose the latter. Now, even on my worst days – I find myself marvelling at the good she left us with. Thanks to her example, I learnt to stand on my own two feet and to fight my corner. To stand up to abuse and live without fear. She would have been the first to say – so life threw a whole load of crap at you and the dreams you once had have changed…but just get on with it – do something new and don’t look back. Grab every new experience and such the marrow out of it!
Those of you who knew her, will remember how Mum had a habit of getting herself into…and out of…some of the most ridiculous situations. I still don’t know how she managed to drive 20 miles from Portsmouth to Stedham through every red light at speed and still get let off by the policeman she grovelled to! Then there was the time she spent 6 weeks hiking in Ladakh in the Himalayas and nearly fell down a ravine…several times (thank goodness we weren’t there at the time!). I’m sure her many friends have similar stories.
Most of all I am incredibly grateful for the lessons she taught us – to embrace every new experience, to fight for what you believe, don’t put up with bullies, to give back and support those in need, be fearless, and most of all – love unconditionally….AND to laugh.
Happy Birthday Mummy! We’ll be raising a glass or two to you today. Love you so much xxxx