Saturday, 2 March 2013

Marking occasions

Predictably, but at the same time unexpectedly, the entry I wrote earlier in the week has left me feeling more than somewhat restless and unhappy.  The apparent paradox of that is explained by the fact that although on the surface there's no obvious reason why it should've done (I was, after all, reminiscing over what I thought were happy events) it suddenly dawned on me on re-reading it that this year is the 25th anniversary of my mother's death and that, certainly, has disturbed some fairly deep-seated unhappy memories which I fully thought the passage of time would've virtually erased.

I'm not even sure I want to write about it much, save to say that it made me acutely conscious at the time of having been something of the proverbial prodigal son.  I wished more than anything in the world that I could've gone back in time and undone that, but of course I couldn't then and I can't now.  They say it's not a good idea to dwell overmuch on the past - there's after all nothing you can do to alter it.  But that doesn't stop it coming back to haunt you from time to time.  On a slightly more rational level, I suppose I can say that in a lot of respects I've probably succeeded in behaving the way I was brought up to do: certainly both my parents were keen that I should make the best of my abilities and I'm glad they were both eventually able to share the proud moment of their son's graduation ceremony.

As I ponder what to put next to try and explain my rather muddled feelings, I wonder if I'm just being too hard on myself.  The world I've grown up in is a very different one from the one they grew up in, and as I tried to adapt to it some of the decisions I took - wrong though they were with the benefit of hindsight - were ones I thought were right at the time.  I'm sure my mother must've made her share of wrong decisions too over the years and the degree of omniscience and infallibilty which I always assumed (or was taught from my earliest childhood) was innate in a mother was in reality not quite all it seemed!  Maybe in the end she was more forgiving of her errant son than I've perhaps ever realized.

Coincidentally the shops at the moment are full of Mother's Day gifts.  We never used to "celebrate" the occasion: back in those days 'Mothering Sunday' as it was properly called wasn't anywhere near as commercialized as it's now become.  But as I browsed earlier today, I spotted some pots of tulips and suddenly remembered the ones I'd planted in the long flowerbed alongside the garage in our back garden at Kenilworth - and how they always used to flower there despite being in almost permanent shade.  I've never yet succeeded in growing them properly here, so it seemed only fitting that I should buy some and plant them in the rockery.  In the unexpected warmth of an early spring afternoon I found a suitable spot for them, and as I said a short prayer I hoped I'd finally laid a bit of a ghost to rest.          

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