May is a rough month for me...
Today, May 22nd, is the anniversary of my darling Mum's passing. I often reflect on her life and her lessons, but on this day she is even more present in my mind, especially her special philosophy on happiness. But I can't believe it's been 8 years.
|Mum - just before our float plane ride to Victoria|
On my walk with Zoe this morning, I also thought about my precious Tilly, the Westie I had before Zoe came into my life. (Did I tell you May was a bad month?). It was at this time of the year in 2010 that I lost her. Tilly died very suddenly after contracting aspiration pneumonia; she was only four.
At the time, I was a complete basket case, utterly devastated at losing her, and spent at least two weeks in tears.
It confused me so much at the time. Why wasn't I handling Tilly's death as well as I did when my own Mum passed. I came to the conclusion that it's because Mum was able to give me permission to be ok with it, to be happy that she had lived such a wonderful life. She was able to tell me how content she'd been, that she had absolutely no regrets about her life.
People told me that Tilly would have no doubt have said the same thing if she'd been able.
So, in memory of Josie Summers... (what a fantastic name!) I thought I'd repost a piece that I wrote when I first discovered how ill Mum was... it helped me at the time and it helps me now to remember her as the amazing woman she was and it gives people some idea about how she lived her life.
Originally written on March 22nd, 2008.
I've been desperately trying to come to terms with some news I've received this week. And after a couple of days of bawling my eyes out, I've found a few things that have helped me cope. One is my daughter, Karen. She's my rock. And playing baseball with my grandsons, Connor and Callum yesterday was the best! I tell you, whacking at a ball with a baseball bat is GOOD therapy!! The fact that it has completely buggered up my shoulder is totally irrelevant...
Then there's writing. I'm sure a couple of my friends here will forgive me for spilling all my feelings out to them.... but it is the one way I know to get my thoughts in order and try to understand my true feelings about stuff.
I have the most amazing mum... she's always been such a big inspiration for me and has always been one of the strongest people I know. Her zest for life has never ceased to amaze me... and even now, now that she knows the end is quite near, it seems to be no different.
Mum is in Leicester Royal Infirmary at the moment after suffering a spinal cord collapse yesterday. It's a very scary complication from the cancer she's just had diagnosed. We only found out for sure on Thursday this week.
She's always been a terror when it comes to going the doctor. Not quite sure why. She said she didn't want to bother anyone when she felt perfectly alright. But she's always been a true fatalist and a realist and is of the opinion that what's meant to be, will be. It might not have been the wisest course of action, but it was hers. And I'll always respect her choices in life.
Anyway, she hadn't been to the docs for at least three years - too bloody busy enjoying life. She's hardly ever felt ill her whole life. But last month she finally admitted she'd been feeling unwell. She'd had some back pain so went to see someone. They did some blood tests and found alarmingly high calcium levels. This was just three short weeks ago so what's happened since has been a big shock to us all.
As I've often said, my Mum is a pretty amazing woman. She has told both my brothers that she's very happy and so glad that she's led such an interesting life. Mum has wanted to experience as much as she possibly can... and I believe she has.
Apparently this hunger for life experiences even includes what she's going through right now.
She spoke to my brother, Ed, yesterday about how beautiful the day was, the view from her window of the hospital is glorious. She said that the music in between the thumping and banging of the scanner was so lovely, she fell asleep and they had to wake her up. She talks of how good the food is at the hospital and how wonderful all the nurses are. How can you argue with that attitude in life?
Mike just phoned again to talk about the plans when I get there on Wednesday. Then he told me of the laugh he'd had with mum today. She's really upset about the brand new, very expensive hearing aid she's just bought - and I mean REALLY upset! If you knew my mum you'd know she HATES wasting hard-earned money. So, she was wondering if Mike could try to get a rebate on it. On a lighter note, she's also really pissed off about the 5 or 6 good pairs of shoes she' won't be getting any use out of now she can't walk... and suggested Mike try to sell them on eBay! Bloody hilarious!!
I wrote here yesterday that you can wake up every day and choose to be angry with the world... or wake up to the world happy. Mum chooses happy. That's my philosophy too. And I'm determined to be happy when I see her this week... even if it might be for the last time.
This is one of my favourite pictures of Mum taken on her favourite beach in Cleethorpes with her sister Lorn... I love you Mum… xxxx
I did see my Mum again on another trip to England in April and sat with her sharing many precious memories. It was so very special and treasure those moments in the garden of the hospice. I will never forget it.