Wednesday, 28 September 2011

To Mum.

Mum, you're about to go in for a big operation, a hip replacement.
I called you before, and you sounded so calm. You have a strong spirit, and you are an amazing woman.

Today I was thinking about a little girl called Rose. You know who she is, you know very well. Rose's mum was a heroin addict, and little Rose was born an addict as well. I watched as you had Rose come to your house, where she would play with the basket of toys you put together just for her. She loved all the activities you did with her, loved your attention, soaked in your smiles.
When you talked about Rose, I could tell that you loved her.

I wonder if that was part of my inspiration to become a social worker, a subconscious push to offer people love, guidance and support. I saw you treat people kindly, many times over.

You watched patiently (at least on the outside!) as I tried to work out who I was. You didn't push me, you didn't nag me, you didn't hassle me. You just let me grow.

I know you haven't had an easy life. It was hard for you to leave Dad, but you knew you had to do it to give us all a chance to have a decent life. Now that I've experienced divorce myself, I am starting to understand more fully how hard that was . Having to watch us leave each fortnight, and not knowing what we were going to would have been dreadful. But you also never stopped us having a relationship with our father, and I thank you for that, because although he and I are not close, I still treasure the time I spent with him on access visits.

You weren't really one for getting sick, Mum, which must make the pain you've had from your back and hip all the harder to handle. Sometimes I felt sad when I was growing up, because you would send me to Grandma's when I was sick, and I just wanted you to look after me. Grandma was a good nurse, but it wasn't the same as having my own mum there.

But I forgive you for that, I understand that you were working hard to build a career for yourself, you were determined to provide for your daughters and to not have to beg anyone for money. You were great at what you did, that was for sure, I know your students loved you very much.

I always had a clean, freshly made bed, clean washed clothes, plenty to eat, clothes to wear, and the chance to do things I wanted to do. You always helped out when I needed money, helped us through the tough early times children and babies and unemployment, the later times when I just didn't have my act together. You were always there when I needed you, just a phone call away.

Mum, you are sweet, creative and loving, highly intelligent, a great writer, an avid reader.

My kids tease me now for having 'phases'... my Harry Potter phase, my religious phase, my spiritual, relaxation no-T.V. phase - maybe I got that from you ... cake decorating, golf, bike-riding, gardening, dinner-parties, canoeing, travel around Australia in a camper-van, motor-bikes. You worked in partnership with Jim, going into business together at Sun Siesta Caravan Park in Mildura.

You worked like crazy and kept the place running as Jim got sicker and sicker. Boy have you worked hard over your life-time - amazing determination! I was always envious of your fitness and organisational skills.

I am thinking of you now, Mum, as you prepare to go to hospital in the morning. You always said 'I know I'm a terrible mum', and we always said 'no, you're a great mum'. I meant it then, I mean it now. You're the best mum. You probably won't read this, because you're not really into computers, but that's okay. I tell you I love you all the time, I don't think it's any great secret.

All the best, lovely, beautiful mother.
I hope the operation brings you relief from pain.

From your youngest daughter, with so much love.

Copyright Sue Oaks 2012