My memories of my mother are sketchy but according to those who knew her, she was wonderful, marvellous, such a good person. The only thing she did wrong was having me. (I don't mean that she shouldn't have done or that I wished she hadn't but simply that, in those days, having a child out of wedlock was frowned upon.)
It's very hard living with a memory of perfection. I assume she loved me. I'm told she did. 'She wanted you.' 'She loved you very much.' But I don't remember her touch. It's thirty-eight years since I last felt it; why should I? But shouldn't I? Shouldn't my lasting memory of my mother be of her love? I know she loved me. I'm told.
I don't remember sitting curled up with her having a bedtime story. But she worked. Her day was long and ... my memory is poor anyway.
I do recall the ultimate sin: showing off. Two occasions in a life of 18 years when my natural inhibitions slipped and the real me escaped long enough to make people laugh. 'Stop showing off!'
It's taken me - oh - so many years to find out that I'm allowed to, sometimes, 'show off'. That I can make people laugh and it's not wrong.
It's easy though, isn't it, to blame someone else, especially if that person is dead? Rather than looking inwards and ... I don't even know what I'm looking for. Reasons for a cocoon of bricks.
And did I love her? Of course I did: she was my mother. I cried when she died. She provided for me and did all the right things. She gave up life for me; her own aspirations had to be packed away after she'd had a child who had to be explained.
Yes, I loved her. She was wonderful.
But how dare she die so inconveniently?
Will anyone read this far? A babble of self-pity asking for sympathy. My finger is playing over the publish button. Do I really want to publish this? Is it enough that I've written it? Will the knot in my stomach release itself if I don't?
P.S. I should add that, as Kris says, I know my mother did the best she could do under the circumstances. She must have been hurting and damaged herself.