July 2020: and so I shall begin;
This is one of my most favourite scenes. If you are leaving the house from where I grew up, you follow a path that takes you through a gap in the hedges, (we called it ‘the cut’ in our house), the path divides into two separate paths and each path leading to the left or right, holds so many memories for me, both happy and sad.
This was my magical place as a child aged six to hide and play, collecting conkers and watching the changing of seasons, the daffodils, crocuses, birds nesting in the trees, snow creating scenes of a Christmas card, winds that pushed me faster or that I struggled against, the crisp sound of the autumn leaves crunching underneath my feet on the pavements that have witnessed my growing feet and the journeys and adventures that I have taken with friends and family. Those pathways have played a significant part in my life, from my leaving the nest, my visits home, my departures and especially the memories of the journeys I have taken with my beautiful Mum.
Thursday, June 28th 2018 is one of those memorable days. It is so vivid I feel like I am reliving that day. I had been home spending a few treasured days with my Mum, she had not long been out of hospital recovering from a broken hip and living with a selfish and controlling Father is exhausting in itself. (I have learnt to rise above his ignorance for the sake of my Mum). I was now heading back. A disgruntled Father reluctantly standing aside, as my Mum defying him by her sheer determination to walk me to the bus stop, as she has always done. Her few free moments to gain confidence in walking again and to feel the fresh air on her face, something that he didn’t seem to think important for her well being!
Slowly arm-in-arm ‘through the cut’ following the path on the left to the bus stop. I remember hugging her and telling her how much I loved her and to take care and not let that narcissistic Father of mine, get her down, it’s a heart wrenching moment, for it’s your beautiful, kind, vulnerable Mum standing there and you don’t want to leave her……and just when I was panicking and thinking “I hope my Mum won’t slip or fall going back to the house’, Mum’s best friend of 60 years suddenly appeared through the trees, just as the bus came into view along the main road…..
…..I hugged them both standing arm-in-arm, I kissed my Mum and left a lip print on her cheek as I always did, repeatedly telling her “to take care – I love you Mum” – her beautiful soft voice, telling me “I love you too sweetheart”. …..
…… I reluctantly stepped onto the bus taking me to the the train station, five hours and I would be back to my own life and surroundings, I sat there waving from the bus window, absorbing that image of my beautiful Mum waving me goodbye in person from that bus stop, a chilling premonition sweeping past, that I would never have this moment again……. the bus pulled away and the tree that had sheltered us in that warm summer sun, would now hold the leaf that had captured that memory of my Mum’s last walk with me down that pathway……