Don’t wait

1640/7th December 2021
Returning East, I expected snow,
But no.
Climate change put paid to that.
If I wanted snow,
I'd have to go
Further North.
With eleven cats in tow,
That's a lot you know.
One gets sea sick
So where she goes, it must be quick.
No long trips for our Sikkim
Also known as our Muffin.
No snow.
Oh no.

Grant is blaming me for the tiny dusting of snow we had this morning. The roads, he said were slippery. Folk up here are geared for proper snow.

They don’t do dustings!

The man insisted I should have Muck boots.

It’s slight overkill, but they are sturdy and warm.

Not quite a blizzard yet.

When I sit down to write, I need an opening sentence, or sometimes a particular photograph will work.

So, it surprised me yesterday, to find myself writing again about my Mum. The truth is I suppose, that I constantly view myself as she may have, though I doubt she was aware of all my shortcomings.

Mum had strong opinions, influenced by my father, but she never made any suggestions whatever about how I might conduct my life.

Perhaps she decided, when she sent me to live with her sister, that she had no further responsibility for me.

When I turned up with a married boyfriend, she greeted him warmly, never questioning what I thought or felt or expected.

What I ended up concluding was that my parents were very happy to have a child that was unmarried and likely to remain so. Single children are a great convenience, after all.

It sounds bitter, doesn’t it? In fact I am not bitter. I loved my mother dearly and would have done anything for her, rather more cheerfully than I did it for Dad.

It does hurt though, to think you may have been just a convenience. But why would I ?

The point I am trying to get to is that my parents and perhaps my mother in particular, did not communicate.

Often they would talk about a situation as if they believed I was fully aware of it, when no-one had ever broached a word to me about whatever it was.

How can one just know stuff?

Dad was just plain secretive. Perhaps it was a carry-over from his days as a photographer during WW2. My brother was told specifically not to ask about the war.

When my mother’s many medications fell out of her handbag I was astonished, as she had only ever complained once in a while of a headache or backache and apart from her arthritic hip, I thought she was perfectly healthy.

If I had not been heavily pre-occupied with a host of other things at the time, I would have seized the bottles and asked for answers, but Mum was already upset and later on, after her surgery, she seemed her old self.

Once years before, I had taken her to South Africa for a holiday that she had always dreamed of. She was unwell on the flight out and for the duration of the trip but she would not tell me what was wrong, no matter how I begged or bullied.

When we returned to New York, Mum broke down in tears telling me I had been unkind. That I could have brought my mother to tears was heart-breaking. I wanted to flagellate myself. To this day I feel awful when I think of it.

But it was all lack of communication.

Mum often had a faraway look and someone told her once she had sad eyes, but she very seldom talked about herself or her past, so I could only make assumptions.

That she loved me, in her own way, I have no doubt, but it would have been so nice to hear those words, spoken from her mouth “I love you”.

God knows I said it to her often enough.

The point of my relating this is to say:

Talk to the people you love. Tell them what you think. Don’t make them guess. Tell them your final wishes too. It is unfair to leave someone to guess what you would want at a time when they cannot think straight.

And most of all, tell them you love them.

Don’t wait. One day it could be too late.

8 thoughts on “Don’t wait

  1. May have been their generation. I know my parents never said the words “I love you” and for many years this hurt and I did not feel loved. I do know that those I am close to know that I love them…. And thank you for the reminder that we need to let people we care about know what we are thinking and feeling.
    Thank you for sharing…

  2. It is all too easy to assume that someone knows how you feel, or what you want, and so many of us keep things to ourselves. Love to you, Grant, and all the cats and critters. 😻

  3. A very valuable thing you said here Carolyn! And I want to reiterate what Peter just said – don’t assume someone knows how you feel … TELL them! Thank you for reminding us how important it is to communicate 💌.
    Oh, and I love your boots!!

  4. I just did another re-read: ” The truth is I suppose, that I constantly view myself as she may have, though I doubt she was aware of all my shortcomings.”

    For sure you must have shortcomings – who doesn’t?

    But more relevant here may be your mother’s “shortcomings” as a mother. It’s one thing to understand why she had them and forgive them. It’s quite another to consider how those “shortcomings” may have had a lasting impact on her children. And then the task becomes it is possible to understand them and then forgive both her and yourself.

  5. My mother was a strong woman but her life was directed by my father, an only child who, by his own admission was a selfish bastard. He had made it plain he didn’t want children so Mum did her best to keep us out of his way. Unfortunately when he took the job with Unesco it all went rather wrong. Bad decisions leading to hurt feelings. I can only guess my Mum’s motivation in marrying the man. Time was passing, there was the war, she wanted children and some stability. She did not want to go back to her tiny village in Wiltshire. I think there was more. Whatever it was, she was my mother and I loved her. I think both my parents would have thought I had nothing to forgive, unlike my brother who they confessed “they made a mistake” with. All very complicated.

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