I’ve told you a lot over the past few days, so there’s not really that much I can add but a celebration of you, I suppose.
Cancer took you from me. That’s an unforgivable act, as far as I’m concerned, for the world’s lost an incredible woman. More than that though, we lost our mother, dad lost his wife.
Don’t worry on that score, dad knows exactly how lucky he was, just as we do.
I don’t remember how young I was when I realised that you were going to be trouble. I do remember you putting my chocolate jazzies on the kitchen counter well out of my reach. I hold that one act responsible for my love of climbing and lack of fear – you thought my height was going to stop me? Think again.
My plan failed, of course, thanks to a recently used iron strategically placed beside the bowl. Oh, how you freaked out. My arm – totally fine, by the way – received so many kisses. More importantly, I got my jazzies, and never went near an iron again. You only have yourself to blame for my lack of domestication.
You’re the only person I’ve ever known to kick off at me for you getting a freebie. Remember the time you flipped out over the crystal lacquer in your craft room? If I’d found something I could use that I never knew I had, I’d have found so many ways to use it there and then! As it was, you thought it was something to do with me. My argument, that the only lacquer I know of is the stuff Nan talks about for hair, fell on deaf ears. A few more minutes of snapping at me went past before you realised it was a free gift with one of your orders.
I was difficult, to say the least. I wasn’t the beginning or the end of your troubles, though, so it stood to reason why I always thought of you as a little uptight. Now I realise you were always just worried about me.
We did not mesh. We shared no common interests – well, if you don’t count MGM musicals. You were all over Gene Kelly and I could not for the life of me imagine why; Fred Astaire was so much better! But you loved me despite the challenges I presented, and I loved you like crazy.
You weren’t exactly keen on phoning up from work to check on the health of an injured squirrel we’d found just to hear I’d adopted it as a pet, you and dad both told me if I brought home a snake I would become homeless, and while you had a fair idea of how many pets I had that you didn’t know about, you weren’t too keen on knowing just how long you’d shared your home with rodents, but you took to the pets you knew about really well, in one case conquering your phobia of flapping things. Instead of running from Mr Wicket, you’d walk to him and stroke his head and beak, especially when he’d just tried to fly to you and discovered a window between you both, an action which wasn’t an isolated incident. My word, how did you ever cope with me?
Quite frankly, you’re the sweetest, most tolerant woman to grace my world.
Yet while I can be angry with cancer’s end result, something amazing happened – it turned out that your diagnosis was a chrysalis containing Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living.
Ok, so you weren’t crazy about your evil superpowered egyptian mummy namesake, but you appreciated the sentiment, signing cards off with “All our love, Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living and Dad”. You started allowing yourself to enjoy life, to take chances, but you never once lost your feminine grace or charm.
You started to understand my sense of humour, and we started laughing together and doing menial things together. I found myself enjoying your company more, and started finally opening up about things, things that I’d have previously left unsaid for fear that you’d berate me, even lightly, for them.
While I would give anything to have the uptight woman, alive and well, by my side again, that’s not a possibility so I’ll cherish the woman you became.
It took me a long time to finally meet my match in Travis, and it means everything to know that you got to finally see me happy. It warmed me to see you two together, hear him telling you to get back in the kitchen and teach him to make your chocolate roulade. Watching the two of you arguing over how you were trying to get out of making him a Christmas dinner was for me one of the saddest but happiest moments in the last couple of months.
Yesterday I broke down while staring at your perfectly painted nails. How am I to fill the shoes you left? The only thing I could do better than you was bake brownies, another memory I have from after your emergence from the chrysalis. Even you had to admit I won that one.
Travis opened my eyes to the reality: My feet are double the size of yours. I can’t fill your shoes if I can’t even fit my big toe in them. I am my own woman. I’m the woman you raised. I’m lucky to have been loved so much. Your love made me deserving of the love I receive, and the people I love deserve the love I give.
I considered using past tense but it really doesn’t seem appropriate given that you’re in every thought, every family member, and every friend you met. I am what you made me, so you’re still right here. I’ve spent my whole life living with you so it’s rather impossible to avoid your name in conversation. Even when giving Dad his birthday cards, I told him how you had agreed one of them was highly appropriate.
I walked into your bedroom today and raided your wardrobe. Does it strike you as funny that I always fought your dress sense but I need it to complete my look? The irony itself only just hit me.
Throughout my life you’ve been a filter of sorts for me – I’ve always had trouble with that whole think before you speak thing, but I slowly (very slowly) learned to think “Would mum clip me ’round the ear for saying that?” If the answer is yes, I skip past that statement. You knew there was a time and place for my cursing, so it’s not like I’ve ever really been afraid of swearing in front of you, but I learnt to be more appropriate with dropping certain words.
You’ve left us now, and while many things were said which needed to be said, there are other things which I missed out on. I just can’t think of them off the top of my head, but I’ll tell you soon.
Anyway, I love you so much, mummy. You’re always going to be the queen of my heart, and while I can’t be even a tiny percentage of the woman you are, I am what you raised me to be – I am your ever-loving daughter, and I can only apologise to Travis for the animals I bring home.