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Sunday 11th March 2018 is Mother's Day, a time to celebrate and thank the mums in our lives. To mark it, Laura has written about her plans for the day.
Laura, 34, lost her mum, Yvette, to breast cancer in 2009. Inspired by her mum's kindness and positive outlook on life, Laura wanted to channel her grief into something good and has done so through volunteering and setting up the blog and podcast, It's Character Building, the aim of which is to inspire and motivate others in the way that her mum did when she was alive.
Want to know more? Read Laura's previous guest blog posts.
It's Mother's Day and I haven't seen mum for a while. I feel bad but I've been working on my new job as a freelance writer, so things have been really busy. I know she won't mind because she knows it's something I'm really passionate about. I take the two-hour drive and pick her up to take her for lunch. My sister has two children of her own and lives close to mum so gets to see her often. My sister is spending the day with her children and friends, so today it's just me and mum and that's pretty rare. I've been really looking forward to this time together.
I'm 34 and she's just turned 65. We had a period in my late teens/early 20's when our relationship was difficult. We found it challenging to adjust to our new roles as adults, rather than as mother and child. I'm the baby and mum is very nurturing so she found it hard to adjust to my independence. We argued a lot and I didn't value her as much as I should have. I didn't make a lot of effort and that's something I regret. So today, I take her flowers and chocolates (her favourites, of course) and a simple, gold, heart-shaped necklace.
I've booked a really nice table in a fancy restaurant and she tells me off for spending money on her because, deep down, she never really feels like she's worthy. If only she could see herself through my eyes. She wants to know all about my freelance work and how my blog, It's Character Building, is doing. She gets embarrassed when I remind her it was all because of her that I started writing in the first place. "It's character building," was her response any time I was going through something difficult, so when I started the positivity blog I used her advice as the title and theme.
I tell her about the blogs I write for Macmillan, the Huffington Post blog and the fact I'm now a contributor for them, the magazine articles I've been pitching for, the people I've been interviewing, and the wellbeing courses I've been running with my business partner as part of my new venture, The Happy You Project. I tell her about the voluntary work I've been doing for a local charity called The Lewis Foundation, the street party I arranged with my neighbours and the impact it's had on my community. She beams and listens intently to everything I've been doing. I show her some of the lovely messages I receive about my writing, one being from a lady in Dubai thanking me for writing something that lifted her spirits, right when she needed it.
She tells me she's proud of me. I remind her that all the good I'm trying to spread in the world is because of the person she is. I feel lucky to have inherited her empathy and compassion. I tell her I want to be half the woman she is.
Then she asks about relationships. Classic mum! I roll my eyes and tell her about the latest heartbreak and ask for advice. We analyse situations I've been going through and she tells me about her relationships before dad. I find strength in her vulnerability. She can't put a plaster on my knee like she did when I was four; instead she gives me the wisdom of her experience. I'm happy our relationship is at this point.
At least, that's how the day would be if I could have one wish granted, but unfortunately it can never be that way. Mum passed away from breast cancer in 2009 when she was only 56. I'd like to think that if her energy remains anywhere in the universe, that she sees what I'm doing and that on some level, we have the day I've described. I get signs from her a lot - if that's possible. Today I had some lemon drizzle cake that tasted exactly how she would make it. Things like that feel like they are her, reassuring me that I'm doing okay, telling me she's proud of me.
If there's one thing I've learnt, it's that you can't turn back the clock. Those arguments, the times I didn't answer her phone calls, I can't change any of it. Our relationship did improve but that time was wasted.
If she was here, she would tell me to focus on the 'living' as much as I can, to love hard, to show people what they mean to me, to invest in all the special people I have around me, and to make memories at every opportunity. She'd tell me not to waste a second of life. Even though Mother's Day is hard, I'll take her advice and make my own version of the day I would like to have had.
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Thank you for writing this. A lot resonates with me and this is the first Mother’s Day without my Mum as she passed away in December, a very short time after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
It’s such a shame that it took her diagnosis to dissolve a lifetime of us having a difficult relationship with each other, but it’s better to have salvaged a few months than to have had nothing, right? I feel grateful for having had that at least.
Enjoy your day x
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