12.30, 10th December 2010.
This time 10 years ago I was just about settled in amongst, under even, all the netting, silk and lace next to my Dad on the back seat of a beautiful Jaguar Mark 10 that had been very generously driven all the way from Yorkshire to Oxford by family friends to help us travel in style on the day. I remember the smell of the red leather…. (I think it was red!)… I remember my excitement, my nerves, the anticipation, my heart busting out my chest, the slight light-headedness from the champagne toasts, jittery, disbelief!
I remember thinking that I couldn’t believe the day had come! That it was my wedding day! OUR wedding day! We had been to so many weddings that year and in the previous few years that it was surreal to be mine. I was floating.
I had always imagined myself confidently, gliding down the aisle, beaming, strong, excited to be marrying my Big Man, the man of my dreams, the man I wished on a shooting star on a beach in Fiji to spend the rest of my life with, my best friend, my confidante, my rock, my life… my love. In reality, the enormity of marriage and the amount of love I had for one man overwhelmed me as I took that first step in to the church… I faltered, shook, couldn’t stop the tears.
But the other rock in my life, my Dad. My Dad had me. He held me up. And I remember him talking quietly to me all the way down the aisle. I have no idea what he said… but whatever it was, held me together until we got to the end… to the man who had held my gaze all the way down that long, short walk up the aisle. He didn’t have to say anything… I just knew what he was saying to me. He had me. For now and forever.
12.30pm 10th December 2015
I am in my favourite coffee shop – Filmore and Union – to reflect. As a tribute to my anniversary, I am wearing the same silver Whistles top that I wore for the morning of my wedding day. And I am thinking of the special time 10 years ago… and I am thinking of my Mum.
On our wedding day, my Mum had the early signs of Alzheimer’s. There were unexplained mood swings, intense bursts of jealousy…. I think she found the day overwhelming…. From pride, love… and maybe a bit too much excitement! But she played her part beautifully… she was there, holding my hand, telling me how beautiful I was… quietly making small adjustments, stroking my back. And she laughed… and she looked stunning. Confident. Beautiful. The most elegant lady there.
Just around now, she will be arriving by taxi, with a nurse to her new home. The hospital have finalized her concoction of drugs to keep her safe, calm, immobile, mute, unproblematic. She is moving to a nursing home nearer my Dad, nearer to home…
She will be arriving by taxi, with a nurse…
I didn’t get my Christmas miracle. I can’t clone myself, I can’t be there… It’s the turn of my boys to be top priority…. More plays, more school activities, the priority to be in the crowd when they look, scour the audience until they find me, looks of relief and joy at the same time.
The rock. Once again, my Dad. He will be there to welcome her, comfort her, settle her, hold her, speak quietly to her as she walks up the path, hold her over the threshold as she takes that first step in to the home and to the start of her next chapter.
Good luck Mum. Love you. Wish I was with you to hold your hand, stroke your back. Tell you you are beautiful. X