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Friday, 16 August 2013

Loss

Synchronicity and serendipity are ethereal. They seemingly come out of nowhere and sometimes we miss their signs but occasionally they just land in our laps, refusing to be ignored.

I was already planning to write about my Mother this week when an episode of synchronicity and of serendipity came along to help me. At the moment I am editing my next book for Templar which is about the loss of a parent so I've been thinking a lot about grief. My Mother was only twenty when she gave birth to me so while I was growing up she always seemed young and glamorous. Here we are sitting together on the old well in the garden of my childhood home.



It is eight years since she died and I miss her every single day. Those eight years seem to have passed so quickly and yet it seems like a lifetime since I saw her, heard her voice, hugged her. There are so many times when I long to pick up the phone and tell her about something that has happened. There are so many times when I am cooking that I wish I could ring her and ask her advice. When I go to a garden centre I think how she would have enjoyed it. She knew such a lot about plants, remembering all of their Latin names. The longer I have been without my Mother by my side, the more I wish she was still here. In my mind I have a vivid picture of her standing by her front gate waving to me as I started the engine of my car and set off for home, or sitting in the garden in Summer time serving tea from the silver teapot which I now possess, pouring it into her Crown Derby cups.



And here is the synchronicity. I was thinking about photographing these cups for this blog and I went downstairs one day last week to discover my daughter had taken one from the back of the cupboard and was drinking a cup of coffee from it. As she has never done this before and I hadn't mentioned my thoughts to her is was one of those strange, almost telepathic moments.

My Mother was a great baker. Tucked away in my attic for the last eight years have been her recipe books. I have not looked at them once. Until this week. Suddenly it seemed wrong to keep them in the dark, unused so today I took those books out of their hiding place, flicked open the page and drank in her rounded, generous handwriting. I touched the curls of the pen with my fingers and pictured her sitting on her sofa copying these recipes from a magazine or a newspaper.



And so I come to the serendipity. Last weekend I went for a walk and called unexpectedly into my friend Bridget's. I came away with a bag of blackcurrants, picked from her allotment that morning.
One of the puddings my Mother used to make over the Summer was blackcurrant tart. As a child it was one of my favourites and I still love blackcurrants. Thank-you Bridget for prompting me to make this. The fruit was delicious, all the more because it had been given so spontaneously and unexpectedly.




 We talk about my Mother often. My children spent a lot of time with her when they were young. They built up a precious bond, one that cannot be broken by death. And in many ways she is all around me, from the plants in my garden to the tapestry cushions on my sofas and the jewellery which I wear. So although thinking of her sometimes makes me sad, I remind myself that I was lucky to have her in my life, that I am lucky to be her daughter, and I am grateful for all the wisdom, love and time that she selflessly gave to me.

Thank-you for reading and I send good wishes for a happy week ahead. If you fancy putting your feet up and indulging in a little light romance my adult novel Every Cloud... published under the name Lucy Cooper, is available as a free Kindle download this weekend.

4 comments:

  1. what a lovely post Alex..and such a poignant one. My father died nineteen years ago, and yes, I still have many moments like you ..

    I'm so pleased you've got all your Mum's recipe books out...and I love the photograph of you both. She really was a beautiful woman.

    And lovely to see the blackcurrant tart!

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    1. It's funny how something doesn't seem right for ages and then one day you decide that it is time after all.
      I'm now really looking forward to looking through all of those recipe books. And the blackcurrants were delicious. Thank-you!

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  2. What a lovely photograph of you with your mother. She was beautiful. As you know, my mother died only a few years ago and I still have that strange momentary panic that I've forgotten to phone her or that I need to tell her something. I hope that our mothers are living on in our hearts.

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  3. I don't think that feeling of wanting to phone and share something will ever go, especially on those big family occasions. Just have to hope they are looking down and joining in from afar.

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