I lost my Mummy when I was 11. She was taken from us in the blink of an eye. She just didn’t wake up one morning and my 9 year old brother and I had lost a beautiful, vibrant loving Mother when she was just 39 years old.
Being without your mother at any age is heart-breaking, but as a child, it is terrifying. She had always provided us with unconditional love, warmth and reassurance and we always thought she would be there. No-one saw it coming, least of all my Father, who has done an amazing job of raising my brother and I. We became very close as a three, but not before a lot of adjustment, tantrums, rebellion and getting to know how to be without my Mum.
As an 11 year old girl who was just blossoming and moving into a whole new era with my Mum, I just couldn’t believe that she was never coming back. She was thrilled that I was enjoying acting school so much, that I had new friends at secondary school and that I was still reading books like they were going out of fashion. She has a close and somewhat rocky relationship with her Mother and was determined to take the best from their relationship and build a similar bond with me. I had started my period earlier that month, and she made a huge fuss of how exciting it was, having been told nothing about it as a child and being terrified herself when it happened. I didn’t think it was possible to cry that much; wondering if I would ever feel better in any way shape or form. Grief is a terrible, prickly thing which softens slightly over time, but leaves scars behind.
She has been gone now for 22 years and of course I still miss her, but the relationship we had for the first 11 years of my life is a memory that is a little more blurry than it used to be. My childhood was idyllic in my mind – I wonder sometimes if I have sugar coated it over the years, but my brother has the same memories. We lived in the countryside, we were adored, encouraged and loved; We were happy children.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was thrilled. We had decided to start a family and I had accepted everything that goes with it. What I hadn’t prepared for was wanting to ask my Mum about being pregnant, being in labour, being a mother. I had to settle for the diary that I found in her belongings which documented her first pregnancy and the first 6 months of my life – a treasured possession indeed.
When I was born, she was clearly very much in love with her husband and her little girl but like any new Mum; she was worried about doing the right thing, making sure I was getting enough of everything and coping with the life adjustment. The diary shows the differences between our personalities as well as the similarities. We both were so proud to be out and about with our new babies – although hers was in August and mine in December. We both breastfed and struggled a bit at the beginning and we both wrote our feelings down. She seemed able to relax a bit more about being a Mum and had a support network which included her mother and mother in law and she managed to get time to herself sooner than I did. I marvelled at the meals she was preparing for herself, my father and assorted guests, when I could barely manage to remember to eat, let alone cook. It does seem like I was a more sleepy baby than Baby A has been for me and I of course was weaned at around 3.5 months, progressing quickly to chicken dinners and liver and onions!
Being a Mummy without a Mummy…. is hard. I want her to cuddle my little boy, to tell me how I am doing, to listen to me vent and to give me a hug when I need one. I am going to be the best Mummy I can be to Baby A but I do wish my Mummy was here to share it with me.