My Mum – A Love Story

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There are things no-one tell you about death. They do not tell you how still it makes you inside. They do not tell you how it will feel to hold your beautiful Mums face in your hands, while you try to ignore how unnatural it feels to touch such ice cold flesh. They do not say that the blood will pool under her skin. That she will still be smiling even after death. They do not say that the man who guides you in to the chapel of rest the following day will cry silent tears with you and the policeman sent to see you and your Dad in hospital will be clumsy and stupid as he tries to establish the cause of the bruise on her neck where those stern paramedics pumped adrenaline into her veins as she lay dying, or perhaps already gone, on her own bedroom floor.

For it is true. My Mum has gone. My Mum has gone. My Mum has gone. My Mum has gone.

I want to write it in the sky. I want to scream NO at the top of my voice. I want to tell each stranger I see in the street. To tell them how very unfair it is that we are alive and she is not. But I have had to tell so many people. Delivered nightmarish phone-calls to my own sister and my Mums sister. I have sat in my Mum’s conservatory listening to her hairdresser (of all people) shout NO into the phone.  Over and over again. I have told her friends and when they became inconsolable, calmly asked to speak to their husbands and instead, explained what happened, to them.

I don’t know why I am writing today. I wasn’t sure I could. I was scared she might have taken my words with her. But even though as I type, real tears are finally flowing, this is what I needed to do today because I know no other way to pour out my grief. To make sense of something so utterly ridiculous. I know no other way because the only alternative is to phone her and I can’t be sure she will take my call in heaven. The only alternative to writing is to call her and tell her my head hurts, that I have slept with Dad in her living room for the past two nights, both of us taking a sofa each. That he has whimpered in his sleep and he is worried about never understanding the washing machine. There is still so much to say you see? Children to be grown without her guiding hand. Thank you’s to be whispered over and over again. A garden she didn’t get to enjoy because Summer didn’t come soon enough.

I am scared to miss her. I do not know whether to be angry. I am so very wide awake. And Finley. My little boy. A boy who could not leave the room without giving his Nana the seven kisses she always demanded of him. When I told him, in the early evening of the day she died that she was gone, he put his hands over his ears for a moment and then told me that he needed to get back to playing with Eleanor and that my darling Kath had made him sausages for his tea and he wanted to eat them before we went to stand in the midst of my entire family, grouped together in her kitchen without our beating heart.

I am scared to be without her. This is the first blog post I have ever written that she will not read. I do not know what words will flow out of me in all my tomorrows without her presence to censor everything that is ridiculous about me. I do not know if the sight of her on her bedroom floor will ever leave me. Her eyes wide open. Whether it was right to tell the man at the hospital not to wash her freshly blown hair because she wouldn’t like it if it was frizzy. That we wouldn’t recognise her and that for all the days in-between her death and her burial Dad and I will go and stroke her face and tell her stories and that while we are doing that, we need to still recognise her. To still be able to find her under her red velvet blanket.

This then is a love story. Like all the women in her family before, my Mum has died in her early sixties. (Stolen. Kidnapped. Taken). Still so very beautiful. For only the very, very beautiful die young don’t they? She was, as you know, both my best friend and my fiercest critic. She was everything I am and so many wonderful things I am not. She was my Fridays. My partner in crime. My closest confidante.My most feared opponent. She was my good morning and my goodnight.

My Mum is gone. My Mum. Italics are not enough enough to make it clear how absolutely ludicrous that sentence feels to me.

Night night Momma. No-one will ever again love me like you did and I will never again love with same fury, certainty and gratitude.

A Hotel Adventure

Darlings I am on adventure today and I need your help on Instagram!

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If you could like my posts today on my feed (@brocantehome) I will love you forever!

Update: thanks to all those of you who helped I am delighted to say that I came second in a bloggers competition today and will be taking a little trip to Edinburgh courtesy of Ibis Styles Hotels.

I will tell you all about it on Monday, when I have recovered from dashing around Liverpool instagramming everything standing still!

Spring Come Rain Fall

I am rather loathe to show you this because I cannot fathom how you can easily order it for yourself should you so desire, but it is so lovely I really cannot resist regardless…

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If ever there was a wonderful gift buyer, my sister Helen is she. Working in Soho, just a heartbeat away from Liberty as she does, and combining easy access to the most utterly scrumptious shops in London, with her own exquisite taste, makes Christmas morning blissful not only because Santa is always so very good to me, but because in among all my other lovely gifts will be a stack of the most darling of wrapped presents from Helen.

This year alongside a cloche jar I have long been coveting, this book (heartily recommended by me!), and a happy little collection of rabbit themed gifts, I received this anonymous looking plain white backed book resplendent with folded pieces of wrapping paper in the loveliest of patterns. It is quite the most useful book ever, with a collection of labels and tags at the back in muted, understated designs…

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Though I have found the manufactures on-line store,  I am pretty certain Helen didn’t pop over to Singapore to acquire this little bit of Spring Come Rain Fall organised heaven for me and as she is too busy to harass with questions today, I find myself rather stumped as to where it came from and thus I do believe this post could be akin to showing off something rather lovely…

I do apologise. Showing off is so very rarely my thing…

Velvet Spring…

It has been a long and winding week. I took it in to my head to move some furniture around and damaged my back so very badly I had to have my Mum and Dad fetching and carrying for me. I do so like being their 42 year old baby occasionally…

(c) Ferens Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

In the meantime the dog ate another laptop charger and the internet was off limits. Finley was on half term and had one hundred and eighty three social events going on. Mark brought the baby over for the first time and I kissed the top of his little head and felt just fine about it. We made pancakes with Kath and Eleanor. I stayed in another hotel. This one to die for.  I spent far too many minutes trotting up and down my slippery decking because some naughty person keeps opening my back garden gate. (Possibly in the hope that my noisy puppy will do a runner). And spring arrived. Oh yes it did…

Just this morning I opened my eyes to a lemon yellow day. I took Finn to school, walked the dog around a pink blossom park, forgot to buy mushrooms for tonight’s chilli and bought a new laptop charger because a person must take action where action is required or else the whole world comes to a grinding halt. I have enjoyed an elevenses of white tea and a teeny tiny ice bun, fried many an onion for the freezer, changed the beds, and had a lovely chat with a woman I had lost touch with.

The whole world seems smiley. There are daffodils on the mantelpiece. Nodding their yellow heads whenever I walk past them. The kitchen smells of a new batch of lavender scented surface cleaner I have just mixed up and there is a row of towels flapping in the breeze. Though the windows look filthy and will have to be attacked with gusto and a microfibre cloth, in my eternally smiley state I even feel a little excited about that today, which can’t be right because surely the first sign of madness is looking forward to washing your windows?

But the pain in my back has eased, Etsy has announced that they will be able to take responsibility for paying the new EU Vat charges so that means life can go back to relative normality here on Brocantehome and Marks and Spencer’s are stocking their Easter biscuits again which always delights me, so even I, queen of all things worth moaning about, cannot find a single thing to jiggle my cheeks about…

Spring has sprung and hope, as always springs eternal.

Stopping and Starting

When your head feels muddly with all the billion and one things you have got to do, and the twenty thousand others you probably won’t get around to, when life feels like the kind of steep stairs a person could develop vertigo on and when you can’t follow your dreams for having to put out all the fires your nightmares keep setting alight, there is only one thing to do. And that is to stop.

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Stop eating nonsense that makes your tummy hurt. Stop pretending to be someone you are not. Stop gossiping. Stop losing entire evenings to rubbish television. Stop being so very careless about your finances. Stop drinking wine. Stop screeching at the kids. Stop texting all day long and long into the small hours. Stop eating copious amounts of blue cheese. Stop agreeing to go places that make you feel as if you have two heads. Stop worrying about the size of your bum. Stop regretting everything. Stop choosing elevenses over laundry. Stop skipping meals. Stop arguing for the sake of it. Stop lying. Stop telling the truth. Stop refusing to leave your comfort zone. Stop worrying. Stop convincing yourself no-one will ever love you again. Stop pretending you are hopeless. Stop forgetting. Stop forgiving. Stop eating tinned soup. Stop dating men you don’t like. Stop shopping daily. Stop avoiding your medication for heaven knows what reason. Stop watching Jeremy Kyle. Stop wanting. Stop coveting. Stop creating piles instead of putting things away. Stop avoiding necessary conversations. Stop biting your nails. Stop laughing when it’s not funny. Stop saying yes. Stop saying I can’t when clearly you can. Stop being frightened. Stop serving everything with mayo. Stop losing hours browsing around the internet. Stop driving everywhere. Stop it. All of it.

Just stop it.

Breathe. Do nothing. Don’t imagine that you have got to fix everything right this minute. Concentrate instead on stopping all the bad habits and focusing on addressing just ONE area of your life. The one area upon which everything else is floundering. The weight, the mess or the relationship. The kid who seems a little lost. The health problems that are getting you down. One thing at a time. Throw yourself at it, wholly. Body and mind. Let everything else stay exactly as it is while you throw your whole being at mending one area of your life and seeing how magically everything else starts to neatly fall in to place.

Start today. Start now.

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There is no explaining this dog. He has taken up wandering around with this ring wrapped around his head. And yes, note the gap where the chair used to be in my living room? I am still searching for the perfect armchair and I will not rest until I find it…