It’s only the end of February, and already 2018 has included more life-changing events than is healthy within the space of a year. As we approach Mother’s Day, which feels more important to me than it ever has before, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this day and what it means to different people.
As a bit of background, I have to share a few personal bits of information with you. I hope that’s OK.
At the end of December, my long-term partner Pete and I got married in a small ceremony on the top of a mountain in Squamish, British Columbia. It was a special occasion for us, but made more special by the fact that the most important members of both our immediate families were there.
A lot of the time, I’m not in the same country as my parents. The last time I saw my mum was the day after I got married in Canada, where we said goodbye to each other before she and my dad flew back to the UK. As we were saying goodbye, my mum did something I’ve literally never, ever see her do before: she cried. She told me she was sad because she didn’t know when she would next see me.
I felt bad, because I hadn’t even thought about when I would next see them. I knew it wouldn’t be that long. I wasn’t worried, and besides, I had a lot of exciting stuff to look forward to.
My mum walked me down the aisle on my wedding day
Now I know that my mum’s upset was probably to do with the emotion of the wedding, and the fact that I’m soon to move to another country that is a long way away from my parents, and probably also some jetlag, but I suddenly felt that it was very important that I see her again, and soon. As soon as I could, I booked tickets to go and visit her and my dad.
And then in the midst of our excitement, one of the worst events in anyone's life happened. Just 5 weeks after our wedding, we lost one of our precious number when Pete's mum passed away. That was almost three weeks ago today.
Pete's mum, Wanda, and me
Pete and I immediately flew to Canada to be with his family. The next week was filled with decisions that you never want to have to make, with planning and arranging a memorial celebration, receiving visitors and just spending time together. The memorial service was beautiful – it actually couldn’t have been more beautiful. But it was – and still is – a very tough time.
Through all of this, I just wanted to hug my mum and tell her how much I love her, how much I appreciate her, and how sorry I am for not respecting her views, and for being a complete pain in the neck to her throughout my life. These events have made me better appreciate the shortness of life, and that I need to treat every time we see each other as if it might actually be the last, not just with my mum, but with all those I care about. I’m so lucky that I can hop on a plane and go and see my mum, but I’m now acutely aware of the fact that one day, she won’t be there, and I won’t be able to go and hug her or say goodbye just one last time.
So in short, I have very mixed feelings about Mother’s Day this year. And I know I’m not alone in that. I saw this lovely article from The Unmumsy Mum, and it reminded me that there are thousands other people for whom Mother’s Day is not a joyful celebration, but can also be one of sadness or reflection.
However, with everything that’s happened this year, I’m going to take this mother’s day as a reminder not to take for granted the time we have on this earth, and to be grateful for every moment I get to spend with my mum. So I for one will be making a big fuss of my mum not just on Mother’s Day, but every time I get to see her.
All wedding photos are copyright Darby MaGill photography.