I consider myself incredibly lucky to have a really good group of ‘BFF’s. They are all very different and some have become my closest friends and confidantes more recently and some a considerable time ago.
One of my ‘BFF’s became so because we were just as similar as we were the opposite. We became so close because we both took German GCSE and for A Level. We were only a small class in number – German not being the most popular of subjects – and we had lots of fun! Well Brown and I did anyway, being the least serious and far less studious than the others.
For our many similarities, we also were polar opposites. For example, we both did French and German A Levels, but while I did Maths (very practical), she read Latin (a totally impractical dead language! ha ha !) and as dark as I am, she is blond – white blond. As sporty as I was, I would pee my pants every time she would try and catch a ball. The memory still makes me laugh – her mal-coordination leaving us all (her included) in stitches. As painfully tone deaf and incompetent musically as I am (also leaving us in stitches), I am always astounded and respectful of her talent and ability to play any instrument, any song, perfectly without a score sheet, sing and harmonise and be able to ‘name that tune in 2’…
One thing more recently we have in common is that we both lost our mothers to a long, drawn out illness.
She lives in South Africa so we don’t get to catch up much, but this morning despite wifi problems her end and 4G blackholes in deepest, darkest Yorkshire – we did.
After updates on our godchildren, we discussed our lives as Mums and life after losing a Mum.
Our lives as Mums have similarities and opposites too. We have both left our corporate careers behind us, me because I choose to, Brown because she can’t practice law in Africa and yet we have both returned to doing things that used to do in our spare time, hobbies outside of the class room. I rang Brown in delight on the back of receiving a recording of her gorgeous voice… I LOVE that she is using her raw and natural talent and sharing it with the world .. or Africa to start with anyway.
Our lives losing our Mums have more similarities than opposites. The only difference is time.. 15 years worth of difference.
Brown’s words and advice from experience were welcome and comforting. We both watched our Mums suffer a slow, degenerative disease where the grieving started well before the end. The grief for the loss of the strong characters of amazing ladies, the grief for the loss of their future for themselves and selfishly for ourselves. At the end, there is an element of acceptance and relief that wouldn’t have featured if our Mums had died suddenly and unexpectedly and where our bodies and minds would have been immediately shocked in to grief. With a long, drawn out, slow disease, with the ‘burden’ of grief and care gone, the initial reaction is to move on, get on with life and live for the sake of the living.
But only for a while. Then comes the natural aftershock. So I am right on track and that in itself is comforting.
I also spoke to another one of my ‘BFF’s today…. And she also said something that rang true. She has just had her 3rd baby, has 2 businesses, a husband and a house to run…. And has probably been doing too much with a brand newborn and her gorgeous Mum rang and told her to stop, saying she was worried she was doing too much. On speaking to her today, she said she had thought of me in that moment, and realised I had no one to tell me the same. No one to cheer when I slowed down, or made the right choice.
Or do I? As I handed in my notice yesterday at the magazine, I drove past a garden that I drive past daily. But yesterday, the front garden was full of white Arum Lillies – my Mumbo’s favourite, the logo for her design business many years ago and the flower in my wedding bouquet. Their big white trumpets standing tall and proud and to me, it sounded just like they gave me a resounding trumpet chorus, cheering me on the decision with the same fervour and vigour as I cheered on the boys at Sports Day yesterday! Loud and Proud!
All is as it should be.
Brown – if you read this – we need an updated photo! I am coming to Africa!