I have a grainy big ass photo of my mum sitting in brogues and tweeds with a stick and a border terrier at her feet, smiling, and somewhere in the Cairngorms. I say hallo to her every time I descend the stairs and touch her face. That border terrier is long gone now and mum is dead these 3 years, yesterday. It thinks me.
As we get older and our mum dies, it seems like it is okay. It is never ok. Even though the mum in question could be difficult, ornery, awkward and refusive, she could also be, when I expand my memories, loving, supportive and actional. She was decisive, immediate when required. She could slap, she could say the most awful things, and she could say the most longed for and fabulous things. She was, in short, a human being, who had gone through a great deal of awfulness in her life and yet still stood. Not only stood, she walked, she led.
This day her beloved and current border terrier, aka hearth rug because she was never stripped on time, died in the arms of the lovely woman who took her on when mum faltered towards Alzheimers. I spoke with her, not mum, obviously, but Jayne who took Scally on, and she was devastated, numbed. The name Scally? Well it came from the name my dad had as a Commando. Scallywag. I would love to be remembered with a name like that. When I saw Scally at mum’s funeral, she looked grey but still lively. To hear that she is gone is like the last dot on mum’s line. That, at any age, takes a hold on time. It means something. This day is not an ordinary day, not now.
Hey Ma, you old eejit, you party queen, you ridiculous old slapper; the one we always came home to, even the grandkids, just to enjoy your welcome and your well stocked drinks cabinet. Thank you. For all of you. And Scally, btw is on her way.