Photography by Petrina Hicks
We all bled together then subsequently we healed ~ Sharon Lawson
Audio for after reading: Headlights duet by Eminem and his brother Nate Ruess (reason later provided)
You know how much I love you but I’ve got to get this off my fucking chest before I’m consumed with a guilt I’ve hidden from you for years.
I was a daddy’s girl and to a large degree still am by nature’s deep rooted dad/daughter psychology but mum, I’m your girl too. You’ve always been there for me through sunshine and showers. Good times, bad times and times when none of us were admittedly not in a very good place. But we got there in the and have never truly fallen out. A few fireworks perhaps but love’s seal was never broken. The wax forming it proved impenetrable. But damn mum, I feel like an ice lolly melting in the sun. As a child and teenager I failed to see the bigger picture. Perhaps blinded by the fact I was hellbent on those adventures with dad, cousins and friends more than how fair the family dynamics were.
How I cringe now sat here the wrong side of forty thinking about how my own mum was predominantly in the background whilst I was attached to dad like a Louis Vuitton shoulder bag. I blame myself in retrospect yet at the same time kind of don’t. I was a kid after all and naive kids chase the outdoors. Not that I’m implying anything, you’re my mum who shows her daughter self care. I remember the smell of Timotei shampoo and nicking a bit of your Simple moisturiser from the bathroom shelf in Seafield. Feeling very naughty but almost grown up. The way you bathed me in pink calamine lotion when I had chickenpox. You and auntie, your sister, taught me how to take care of myself in completely different ways.
Shopping obviously didn’t appeal to me as I preferred seeking out animal skulls, bird’s legs to chase kids around the playground with and the other curious hints at my career goals. Sourcing my morbid curiosities was in the many fields and woodlands where dad walked our beloved maniac spaniel Haggis. So yes mum, I definitely preferred fields to stark aisles but not because I didn’t care or love you.
We went through a devastating time when I had my AVM bleed in June 1996. Trauma beyond my comprehension as a crazy 19 year old who found the whole situation fascinating. A then unknown gene defect helped me not be a scared wreck. I recall you and dad being took into a side room at St John’s hospital in Livingston. I then had a moment of worry but you came out as strong as an ox on steroids and I remember dad wiping tearful eyes. The rest is gruelling history but from that day until writing to the local MP to appeal for an adjustable bed on medical grounds, my goodness mum you rallied through. And you still do.
Every horrible subsequent unexpected utter bullshit we’ve had to endure since then, mum you’ve been, and what the heck I’ll say it because this was written from my heart with passion, a badass motherfucker who held us together when things started to pull apart at the seams. Selflessly like a tender hand gripping a rose full of thorns. We all bled together then subsequently we healed (hence the artwork choice).
Mum we tread water every day like rats (which you know I love) lost at sea after a ship has gone down. Our collective chronic conditions both mentally and physically trying to pull on our tails and drown us yet our strength keeps us paddling. Whatever has caused us torment over the years and insists on continuing to do so, mum we’re not as lost at sea as you think. Rats, according to the Chinese zodiac, shine during times of disaster and show a quick response to outside changes. Wonderful adapters. You probably wonder why am I going on about rats but you and those who know me understand my mind, forever bouncing off on a tangent like an erratic pinball machine.
So mum in closing, you have pumped so much of your genetic strength, ability to cope and comprehend plus enjoyment of the little things in life such as sitting on a nice bench watching pigeons as we sip our lattes. The song choice I’ve added has no doubt puzzled you. Every time I listen to it I burst into tears. Eminem and his brother are reconciling with their problematic estranged mother who neglected them as boys. Not that their situation happened to me, certainly not. The odd lines from the track hits me like a ton of bricks and squeeze certain triggers deep within my mind just as they may hit you too. Mum, it’s about deep love for a mother and burying guilt. That’s the point.
And the track closes with:
And if the plane goes down
Or if the crew can’t wake me up
Just know that I’m alright
And I was not afraid to die
Mum, you have given me titanium strength because no matter what I’ve been through and am currently going through as I sit with a coffee outside in the sun writing this, you’ve created a warrior with her funny Flopsy foot who is now not even afraid of death itself.
I love you so much mum, thank you always