I don't have as many memories of my mum, as I do of my dad. I remember that she could speak fluent French, and that she knew more than enough Polish to get by. I remember that she was very fond of Owls, and had a few soft toys. I remember once spending ages explaining how to play one of my video games - which buttons to press, what the idea of the game was etc. - only to have my mum listen patiently and then say "yes - but what do I have to do?"
And I remember the last time I saw her alive. We were sat at home, watching "Crossroads" - I don't know if it was a favourite programme of my mums, but we watched it regularly. Mum suffered with migraines, and on this occasion she asked me to nip upstairs and get her a couple of headache tablets. I did so, and the whole task took only thirty seconds if that.
I came back to my mum and handed her the tablets. She put them in her mouth - but they fell straight out again. She had suffered a brain Hemorrhage, and the right side of her face was paralysed.
And that is pretty much all I remember. I jumped up and phoned for an ambulance, and I vaguely recall the ambulance arriving and taking my mum away. But apart from that, not much else.
Mum was in hospital for a day or so, and then on the 12th June 1987 dad came home and told us that mum had died.He knelt down in front of me and I gave him a hug, and we both cried. I also seem to remember making dad several cups of hot sweet tea for the shock - about 10! it seems.
As horrible as it was for me, it must have been a thousand times worse for my dad - and my sister Bernadette, who was on holiday in France (I think), as a babysitter for friends of mum and dad.
I didn't go and see my mum in hospital, I couldn't bear to. I wanted my last sight of mum to be at home. That being said, I have always felt guilty for not going - and this is also why I had be at my dads side in hospital when he died. I visited my mum in the Chapel of Rest at the Funeral Directors, but the way she looked upset me. I don't remember her funeral at all - obviously I know it happened, and obviously I was there, but the day itself is not in my memory.
My mum had been ill for many years with Depression. Because of this, there were times when we would hardly see her. Nonetheless, the love she had for us was never in doubt. This picture is the only I have of me and my mum. As you can see, she was a tiny little person, I actually had hair at that point in my life, and we both had horrible jumpers on. But I love this photo - I can't get over how small my mum looks!!
Both my parents were teachers, and my mum did a spell of supply teaching. On one occasion, she came to my school - and even took my class for registration. Of course, my classmates being the mature, respectable young people that they were, didn't try to embarrass me.............like hell they didn't!! All I heard was "Laurence, got any cigarettes? Laurence, got any Beer?, Laurence, got any condoms?" Luckily, my mum knew that I was good boy. And that I really wasn't that popular.
So it has been 24 years since my mum died, which means I have lived longer without her, than I did with her. I've seen my mum once in a dream since she passed. It was actually the night before my dad went in to hospital for the last time. In that dream, my mum and dad walked from the house that my dad lived in with my stepmother (he remarried some years after mum died), back to our old house. At the time, I didn't see anything in it, but with hindsight I have always believed that in that dream my mum was basically saying that dad was coming to see her, but he would be alright. I know not everyone will think the same, but that is what I feel.
I do feel guilty about not remembering more about my mum - but at the same time appreciate the reasons for it. I was young when she died, and because of her illness she was not as prominent as figure in the day to day running of the family as my dad was.
Like my dad, I do wish she could have been here to see the man I have become, to have shared in the joy I have felt through the relationships I have had, and through the friends I have made.
Also like my dad, I ask my mum to look down on me and help me make the right decisions at the right times.
The pictures above seem a lifetime away. I have come so far, and experienced so much since then. But my mum is with me still. And though my memories of her are few, she is constantly in my heart.
I miss you mum, and love you always xxxx