Due to being overwhelmed, and having just moved house when the fifth anniversary came around, I didn’t write a post. But today for Mother’s Day I’m writing another letter to my mum.
Dear Mum (you’re a grandmother now too! That’s me with my niece in the picture),
It’s been a while since I wrote. A lot has happened in my life, and I guess I’ve just been trying to move forward. But this time of year is always tough, so I wanted to write this for you, for me, and for all the motherless daughters today.
This day always gets to me. The bombardment of adverts for Mother’s Day begins some time in February, and gets steadily noisier, and harder to ignore, until the day has passed. So for about a month I am on alert for anything containing the word ‘mum’ to delete without reading. I skip past messages on social media, ignore photos, and turn away from displays in shops. It’s stupid that it still gets to me, 6 Mother’s Days on, but it does. It’s a day to celebrate something that I no longer have, that it seems like everyone else in the world does when it rolls around. I know that’s not true, and I have friends who are in the same position as me, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
So today, I thought I’d give you an update on my life, and have a little chat. Because even though you’re not here, I am thinking of you.
One of the biggest things that has changed is that I’ve met the most amazing man. Michael is the other half of my double act. You would have loved him. He’s funny, and kind, and exactly the person you would have hoped for me I’m sure.
Another huge event is that I met my niece for the first time. Pypa April Charlton Mullinder is the most beautiful little girl, she would melt your heart. She’s the spitting image of Dan, when she smiles it reminds me of him when he was a baby. Honestly his little family is beautiful. He’s got the pets he always dreamed of, his own little flat, and way longer hair than he had as a kid! You would be proud of the man that he’s becoming.
I moved around a bit. I made some mistakes, but in all of them there were opportunities too. I moved up north, which didn’t last, but got me an award, a great grad development course, and some memories that I’ll cherish of sunny picnics, exploring Manchester, meeting new people, and delivering my first ever mini session on self-care!
I’ve eaten delicious food, been on road trips, visited theme parks, and listened to a LOT of music.
Something which I think about more as I get a bit older, is all the life events you’re not going to see. We never really talked about the future, about me growing up, getting married, having a family of my own. We didn’t talk about my career goals, or my fears that when I finished uni I wouldn’t know what to do next. I never got to ask you for advice on growing up, on being brave, or the best way to cook pasta. I’ve muddled through as best as I can so far, and I will continue to do so. It’s funny really, having never spoke about those sort of things with you, I still have in my head an idea that I want to make you proud, or be ‘good enough’. I think a lot of it is that I saw how much you struggled, and I want to do better than that. Also I feel the absence of the things I missed out on growing up, and am trying to make up for that somehow. It’s good to strive for more, but I have to let myself learn, and stumble, and mess up sometimes too. Growing up in chaos has made me crave order and perfection, which is an unrealistic goal to obtain.
I’m working on that though, so please don’t worry that I’ve been broken by the things you couldn’t give me. My past has given me a strength, and a determination which shines through even when I feel like giving up. I am who I am because of what I’ve been through. I am passionate about helping others because you taught me to be kind. When I experienced first hand the failings of the system to support and protect me, it made me determined to help other young people going through similar things. You taught me to stand up for what I believe is right, to support those who are different, alone, or hurting. The fire which burns in my veins comes from you, and the things you did teach me, in spite of the limitations you had.
I think you would be proud of how far I’ve come. From the awkward, self-conscious young woman who didn’t know where she was going, and got into so many rubbish situations because of the desire to be liked, and cared for. Now I am living my life for me, not worrying what other people thing (at least not as much – it’s a work in progress!) I’m grabbing my life with two hands, and taking action on the things I’ve been talking about for years. Though I never got to talk to you about most of them, you’re in on the conversation now.
To everyone out there who is struggling today, please message me if you want to chat to someone. I’m happy to listen, to distract, to rant, or to help you reminisce. It’s a tough day, but remember you’re not alone. As a certified member of the dead mums club, I’ve got your back ❤️