May 1st 2016 would be Mums 50th Birthday.
She fell 12 birthdays short of her half century, today I will try and raise the bat for her.
I've got no shame in saying I sit here writing this with tears rolling down my face as I try to look for a photo to accompany this post. I think that most people see me as a happy and strong person, 99% of the time I am, however sometimes I do get that trigger in my head which causes me to be upset, that 1% will always be there in my head.
Two things occupy my mind today. Firstly that my mum gave birth to me at 22 years old (10 Feb '89), I'm told back then it was normal to start a family at that age, nowadays it seems to be a little later in life. I admire people who have a family early but personally it's not something I could have done/will do. At 22 I didn't really know who I was, but I suppose that having children early has a bearing on the person you become. That said it's not in any of my plans at present.
Secondly, 38 is no age to die. A woman who didn't smoke or drink, struck down by a cruel form of cancer which meant her last 4 years in the world were spent fighting and not enjoying life. I don't sit here alone in knowing someone who has died from cancer. I remember reading about Johan Cruyff say late last year (2015) that he was "glad to have finally beaten cancer" having been given the all clear. The feeling to hear that saying must be incredible, but lets not be naive here, once diagnosed I don't believe you are ever "all clear"of cancer. Mum was given the "all clear" 3 times, firstly after chemo and then after stem cell and bone marrow transplants. Johan Cruyff died in March 2016. Never believe that it couldn't possibly happen to you, it happened to us.
I sit here and wonder what she would be like at 50. With her children at 27, 24 and 18 there is no doubt in my mind that she would have gone back to work, probably years ago, doing something that she loved. She was an innovative person and was successful in anything she tried, very entrepreneurial. My dad recently bought a wedding car as a little side project for his retirement, this was one of my mums ideas from the past and it was good to see it come to fruition. Mum was interested in everybody she knew and was the epicentre of most activities, she was the sort of person who I could probably convince that the sort of hiphop i'm into, was good, despite probably hating it herself!
2016 has been a whirlwind so far, and its just getting started.
May 1st 2016 also marks the day I leave town after 27 years. I'm moving permanently to Southampton in preperation for starting my 5 year uni course in October. It's funny to think I've never lived more than a mile away from the hospital I was born in. Leaving the capital (Dorch) of the slowest county in the world (Dorsetshire) I have mixed feelings but mainly excitement for the future. I have meticulously planned and then re-planned this over the last couple of years and now the moment is finally here. Having to sell my house, leave my family and friends, leave my job and business contacts and leave my (dads) dogs are all parts of a broader decision to achieve new things in my career and furthermore life. I've learnt 'time is not something you get back' the hard way. So I'm going to do everything I can to focus on what I'm moving away for.
Mum died 2 weeks before my GCSE exams and never knew my results. She always pushed my education and wanted me to go and do A-levels then onto uni. Me being me, the stubborn person I am, chose another lane and went a different route.
The best 50th birthday present I can give her is the knowledge that now 12 years later she has her wish.
"If I ever said I'm never scared just know I really mean it,
I dreamed about the top I had a vision and I seen it,
If you know the work comes first then you and I are in agreement,
And it's a long haul but I work harder than them all,
So come back in 5 years and we can talk about achievement" Gerald Gillum 2015
For you Mum