OK it was hurtful to realise that neither my mother nor my eldest daughter even thought to check whether I was OK. My mother is far too self-obsessed to even consider that she should ask. I called her the day after surgery to let her know I was OK but after I said, “Hi Mum. They did the op yesterday.” She replied with, “Oh right. Well I went out last night. We had a lovely meal. Ooh, but I think I’m getting a cold.” At that point, I said, “Sorry Mum but I’m really tired – I need to go.” I hung up without waiting for a response. The alternative would have been to give her a piece of my mind and I just didn’t have the energy. And if she’s so self-obsessed at the age of 73, I very much doubt that me pointing it out would change anything.My eldest has been in touch recently and her spirits seemed to be lifting somewhat so it was pretty disappointing and hurtful that she made no effort to even ask how I was - let alone, pay me a visit. To be fair, I do think that it simply wouldn’t have occurred to her that might be an appropriate thing to do. Social niceties seem to simply slip right past her. And even when they are highlighted to her, she fails to grasp their significance. Still, regardless of the explanation/excuses, and my total lack of surprise, it still hurts.
Anyway, I was out of bed a full 24 hours earlier than my surgeon anticipated, and therefore discharged a whole day early. I’ve done an awful lot of lying around since then. If I have to leave the house (I’m not allowed to drive yet but have two mates who have given me a lift if I’ve needed one), I’ve spent almost all of the following day fast asleep on the settee. I’ve managed to finish two books I’d already started, and read another from cover to cover. I’ve been occasionally amused by Loose Women but have drawn the line at Jeremy Kyle. I caught his show a couple of years ago and was appalled. His arrogance and bullying made me seethe to the point that I flick the TV off as the theme tune strikes up.Anyway, there’s only so much telly I can watch. There’s only so much reading I can do. And there’s only so much of the internet I can be bothered to surf. And so I’ve had lots of thinking time - so much thinking time.
Finally, after considering it for much of the past week, I plucked up the courage to look at some old webcam recordings of Al. I thought they were lost when my old laptop broke but they were retrieved and placed on my current laptop - and then I found that I’d made backups anyway. However, my new laptop would only play the audio versions of the files and I couldn’t see them at all. I just needed an extra program but it took over eighteen months to drop it into the repair shop to get it sorted out even though they had assured me that it was a five-minute job that could be done while I waited.That was two months ago and tonight I finally looked at them. I was able to smile at Al doing his best to distract his little sister from the song she was recording for her grandparents in Brighton. And yes I cried, but only a bit – nothing like the torrential flood I’d anticipated. Just looking at his cheeky smile, and the slightly awkward way in which he spoke to his grandparents (he’d have been fine if he’d been talking in real time but making a recording made him just a little bit self-conscious) reminded me of how much I have lost – of how much is gone. It was bittersweet just seeing him and his sister compete over who could best bare their bottom for the camera - she won because she was younger and totally unaware and just pranced about totally naked whereas he felt the need to pretend to be a sumo wrestler to justify baring his bum but kept his underpants covering his frontal bits. He drew the line at that! He was 11 after all.
And yet, it was a good reminder of all that I had. No other Mum had the joy (OK and the despair at times) of raising Al. No other mother had the privilege of knowing this amazing, cheeky, lazy (yet energetic when it suited him) vain, beautiful young man. I know that I was unlucky to lose my son so soon. But I was incredibly lucky to have him at all. No other Mum can say that. He was my precious boy. My beautiful son. And although he is no longer here with me, I carry him with me always. I guess that sometimes, you just have to see the positives where you can. I have to look a lot harder for them but tonight, I was reminded that they are there. And it helped.