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Saturday, 20 April 2019

'Mum Moments' and a partial update...

Forgive the relapse here but I feel the need to share again...

The thing is about grief, your brain (or at least mine does at any rate) seems to feel the need to obsess about the person who's gone.  There is no logic in it at all - when mum was alive, I could go days - sometimes weeks without really thinking of her or my dad.  Writing that down actually makes me feel even more guilty... many a time  "Wogan" used to be waffling on (nicely like he did) on the radio and he'd say the phrase "you'll never miss your mother 'till she's beneath the clay" ... I'm paraphrasing here I suspect but the SENTIMENT is true.

Now, as we're chugging along on a beautiful day with the sun shining, birds singing and flowers blooming EVERYTHING reminds me at some level of mum and is stopping me from being in the moment... it's really brassing me off to be honest.... even things that are so tenuously related to her keep needling me to the point of being on the verge of tears... tears which are never really THAT far away at the best of times. Luckily I have a really dark pair of 'chugging' sun-glasses which hide them well so most folk are oblivious... and those that are not... well, I suppose I don't REALLY worry about them anyway.

Recently, it's been the spring flowers triggering memories - the other day we happened across a hillside absolutely carpeted with wild primroses and within seconds my brain had wandered off to childhood memories - one in particular... Where we lived, there were loads of them around and  mum used to pick some, tie them up with cotton and place a tiny bouquet in an egg cup and then take them to an old lady called Jean (who was in a wheel chair and lived next door to where my nan lived) when she used to call in to "set her hair" - I'd be bored watching said hair being put into rollers with setting lotion (the smell of that is coming back to me even now) and even when she'd finished it really din't make much of a difference to her appearance ... BUT to Jean, she felt like someone had made an effort to make her look more pretty and it made her happy - therefore it made mum happy too .... as a kid, I was just very bored sitting in this woman's kitchen watching her hair being "done"... This went on for years after my nan died but it was mum's way of keeping a connection with HER mother...  I understand this now.

It's not just primroses - Aubretia is another one...  yesterday we chugged passed SO many gardens with canal-side walls with masses of the stuff tumbling down  - Mum could never grow it... I think it needs lime-soil to prosper and ours was very clay like...just seeing it and my brain thinking "Joyce'd love that" interrupts the moment again.

I DO hope this is temporary and I can chug past something without my subconscious prodding me to point out I've not been upset for 30 seconds so it's time to remember again.

It's a similar thing when I talk with my dad on the phone. It's a necessary thing for us both but we both end up upsetting each other - with stifled sobs as we try and compose ourselves enough to make conversation about something else - ANYTHING else to convince ourselves life moves on and things are gonna be fine... the reality being that Joyce was the "common ground" between us and without her presence, we realise she was the hub so to speak.

Even in the darkness however there are some comedy moments with him - yesterday he told me he'd bought himself a chainsaw... "your mother would never let me have one and I've always wanted one" ... he then went on to say how savage it is and having "cut a chunk out of something I shouldn't' have done , I've used a hand saw" lol.

Apparently he's been helping some other oldies do some fencing  - no, not sword fighting... erecting barriers in their gardens.  This is the man with most of his stomach muscles missing since his operation last year - it's nearly 12 months now since he was on deaths door in a coma... he's now filling his waking hours with "jobs" to make him tired and stifle the loneliness.  Loneliness he at least feels comfortable enough to be able to admit to feeling ... AND to try and do something about.  NOT that folk have abandoned him... far from it... from the sounds of things, he's barely a moment to himself.

This somewhat new-found celebrity status has it's negatives too though - some of the people who are now making an effort to spend time with him out of kindness, didn't necessarily extend the same kindness towards mother when she was alive and immobile ... at a time when her world had become SO small.  He's sad that some folk hadn't been able to tolerate (for want of a better word) her towards the end as it'd have meant more to HIM for her to have been happier if you follow...he's always been (and contines to be) a kind man who puts everyone one ELSE before him.

People are SO complicated.

NOT me however... I'm pretty much WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) - wear my heart on my sleeve.

ANYWAY - enough of that until the next time it erupts....

  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . 

WHAT'S been going on then? - well, we said goodbye to our first couple, did a mass wash and clean and then new guests joined us on Monday lunchtime in Marple.

We'd just sneaked in on the end of the 2 day moorings that those 3 boats seem to be living on - STILL cross about that - not at crt but them... they KNOW they are taking a liberty and spoiling things for visiting boaters who then have to try find somewhere else to tie up - perhaps further out of town... perhaps far enough out NOT to walk back in and spend any money there...  grrr...

Their arrival was fortuitous as I'd been "stuck" with a chatty man who wasn't taking the hint to bugger off so when then trolled up on the towpath, I could brush him a side and get us moving.

You'll remember the Closure of Bosley locks had been looming over us so we raced - (as fast as you can at 2-3 miles an hour) in that direction as soon as they stepped on board.

Having stopped at Bollington Wharf to fill with diesel and have a pump out, we chugged on to about half an hour away from the locks before stopping for the night.  Not too bad a spot but as usual of late, the Geese decided it was time for us to get up before it was light... I really hate geese these days.

At the top of Bosley we filled with water (2 other boats were queuing at the water point so we nipped into the pump-out arm.

THIS meant that accidentally, we queue jumped and ended up going down the locks ahead of a boat that would otherwise have been in front... ahem...  Guilt pricked away at our conscience and our crew then helped them follow us down so as to re-balance the Karma.

When we got to lock 3, we saw the platform crt had built to cover the void...  it tuned out that we'd made it on just the right day as "we're closing it again tomorrow to fill it with clay"... said one of the chaps I got talking to.

Once through Bosley, we carried on to Congleton where a quick stop (in search of bread and milk) was in order... going up the steps at the pub seemed a good idea...  and I'd imagine many a boater has fallen back DOWN them after a few libations! - we were OK and carried on with our journey.

When we tied up for the night (near the Rising Sun at Heritage Wharf) as one of our guests wasn't in the mood to play rummikub, they beggered off to the pub, leaving ME to keep Andy happy... which meant 3 rounds of said game and me LOSING 3 rounds... I don't mind...  I've always been a joiner-inner so losing comes naturally lol.

Next morning we went through Harecastle Tunnel again - this time it took us about 40 mins which is odd because it felt longer - the water level was a good 9 inches lower than previously.   Stopping for lunch at Westport Lakes, we decided to linger while whilst our guests went off exploring - it really was a lovely afternoon.... when they returned, we chugged on to Etruria to spend the night.  In typical boating style, we bumped (NEARLY literally) into another boat as we went round a corner/through a bridge into a lady I follow/who follows us, on Twitter... and she joked we'd both be tweeting about the encounter later... the closeness of the incident WAS however my fault was we'd all been looking at an old building and discussing what it could be used  for and I'd taken my eye off the bridge for a moment too long...  

At Etruria, we tied up, had dinner and then went off to the pub with our guests - quite a gem of a pub called "The holy inadequate" in stoke.

We'll be going back there again... rather good beers.

Next morning our guests departed after breakfast and we began the laundry task again - this time on the water point at Etruria before we set off to Wolverhampton.

I'll come back later and finish this as we need to be setting off again now...  the sun is out, the first "yellow peril" has gone past and it's gonna get busier.

Until next time...


Brian and Diana on NB Harnser said...

Even now I think, O I will have to ask dad if he remembers that or to tell mum I have seen something.

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

I read your post re the constant reminders of your mum with a great deal of interest - and a smile on my face ... In particular what struck me was your comment about not being able to stay in the moment of what you are seeing but having your mind head to memories of your mother.
Here's the thing: that IS your moment to be staying in right now! Don't push it away or try to stop it, just treasure each and every one of them. They are the thoughts and memories that are cementing themselves in your brain for later; and more particularly, they are how you are honouring your mum and who she was to you, your dad, her friends.

When my mum died and for at least 3 or 4 years after it, my dad would often at first and then occasionally be sitting with us and tears would start down his cheeks.. He'd always say 'don't worry about me, I am fine. I am just remembering Peg and thinking about how much she would enjoy this.'

My mum died in 1997 and my dad died in 2003 - I still see things, hear things, smell things that bring them back. I still think 'I wish I could tell mum or dad about this.'

In particular when we are on the boat, cruising places that dad would have known as a kid and young adult, or when we are out in the motorhome here in NZ and we arrive at somewhere Dad used to tell us about being, or crossing the wide braided rivers of the South Island where he used to go jet-boating.

So my coaching: don't knock it - this is the way your mum lives on - in my atheist view, it's the only after life there is, so treasure it!

Big virtual hugs from a fellow blogger, with the hope we see each other on the cut sometime this season.

Cheers, Marilyn (nb Waka Huia)

Carol said...

As Marilyn says,
These are your moment to treasure. My Dad died in 1981 and Mum in 2002 but I still often see or do something that my first thought is to tell Mum/Dad about it. We often think of our parents and wonder what they'd be thinking of us living on the water for all these years and it makes me smile to know that their opinions would be so different.

Memories, are just that ... remember them and enjoy them.
Carol Still Rockin'