My mother would have turned 70 today ... but she died back in 1999, at age 56. I remembered her birthday as it approached this year. Maybe I have always remembered but this year I have carried her with me for days.
70. I can't even imagine how that might have changed her. I don't think it would have. She was one of those women who grew more beautiful as she aged. I think women do that sometimes. Their authentic self comes shining through and they finally allow it. They have grown into their skins and they're comfortable. She was surely getting there if she wasn't already and people who spent time with her in her final months simply loved who she was.
She was always a remarkable woman but I'm almost sure that she never knew it. Nobody really knew how to say things like that back then. What is it about us that makes us write of these things, talk of those remarkable things about people we love, after they're dead? I have come to believe that we should tell people that we love or admire them while they're alive. I learned it the hardest way.
My relationship with her has changed through the years, despite her absence. I've thought of her often, sometimes writing a note that allows me to remember her for a while.
I knew she would have flown over to Istanbul and loved being there. She would have adored Beste's mum, just as I do. She would have charmed everyone. She had this quiet loveliness that I didn't quite understand when I was young. And Belgium, I could imagine her so easily, out on the balcony at the first place, resting with a glass of white wine after completely designing and planting a balcony garden.
Genova ... she wouldn't have left. She would have found an apartment next to the sea and spent the rest of her days there. And I think the Italians wouldn't have minded. She had this innate goodness that you could see in a moment. She was brave, and as strong as she needed to be. She was kind too. She should have traveled but she didn't really.
So there it is, on the last day of this commitment to blog everyday of November, I wanted to celebrate the woman my mother was ... a remarkable woman I still miss 14 years after we lost her.
She planned her own funeral you know. We were all there in the church and I had just given my first speech in front of a 'packed house'. My two brothers, my sister, my dad, her sisters, and so many who loved her, were sitting there feeling so sad and which song roared out through the speakers of that lovely little Catholic church in Mosgiel?
Laughter and tears ...she was a truly remarkable woman. And she loved Queen.