Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Bringing it all back home
It’s the strangest thing, but I seem to be thinking about my mum all the time lately. She died quite suddenly more than two decades ago and although of course, she is always there in the back of my mind, it'd been a while since a memory pierced my heart and took my breath away, in a way that happened all the time in the early years.
Anyone who has suffered loss of any kind will I’m sure recognise that description.
But lately the oddest things have brought her into my mind and I’ve had to brace myself against waves of sadness that she’s no longer here.
I wasn’t sure why this kept happening. There's no obvious trigger or anniversary. No one has especially reminded me of her, or said anything that sparked a particular memory. The other period of my life when I experienced this feeling most keenly was when I became a mother myself for the first time. It seemed painfully unfair that I couldn’t talk to the person who would understand it all best.
I was thinking about all this the other night and I realised that I’m living in a time of change right now, just as when I became a mum. For the first time in my life, I’m spending more of my work time writing than on any of the bread and butter journalism jobs I’ve held over the years. This, obviously, is deeply satisfying and I’m very excited about the launch of my first novel in May, Dark Ride. I’m meeting new people through my writing life all the time lately and have a very strong feeling of having ‘come home’. I understand that expression about being in one’s element in a way I never previously did.
So why do I keep thinking about my mum just now?
I wonder whether change, even good change, shakes things up in our lives, dislodging all the sediment and stuff we don’t always address. Maybe the events that shape who are to come to the surface during these periods of our life.
I had only just left university when she died and still didn't really know what I wanted to do at that stage. Getting published wasn't something we’d ever particularly discussed but I know that if she was alive today, she’d be proud of me and boring everyone silly about the book. I’m sorry she never got to do that, but even more so that she never got to meet the most important people in my life; my husband and children.
Maybe this is her way of living on and cheering me from the sidelines.