A letter to the mother I never had

Thursday 6th October 

I have been thinking about my mother, she has been rather poorly of late and I have been over to see her a few times in the last week or so. It is her hip, and really I think she may need a replacement at some point soon. I have offered to help out and can arrange for her to see a specialist privately, but she says she cannot be bothered; she is too old now, can still get around and cannot see the point.  There is a degree of stubbornness about her that really annoys me. I had hoped that with seeing her more often our conversation might be a bit deeper, as it once threatened to become, but trivia seems to be the order of the day; we chat about the weather and the price of things in the shops, but never about the things we should be talking about, things we have never resolved about the past.  I feel that it should be her who wants to talk to me about it, but as she obviously does not want to I have decided to write her  a letter, though whether I will ever be brave enough to give it to her I do not know.

Dear Mother,

Funny that, I naturally think of you as Mother but can remember calling you Mummy as a little girl, but it was never in that confident caring and loving way which children call their mothers Mummy, was it? It was never that kind, soft and overflowing word; no, with me, it was just your name, I might as well have called you Margaret like everyone else did, (though Grandma would never have sanctioned such familiarity I am sure).  Why was that? Was it just the over-riding influence of Grandma, who so dominated my horizon as to leave no place on it for you, or were you in some way complicit too? Did this arrangement, of Grandma assuming all the maternal duties, including affection, really not suit you too?  Or had you simply given up by then, because that was what I thought of you when I was growing up; that you had given up on everything, and especially on me. You were like an extra passenger we were carrying, but in no way were you rowing the boat with us.

I would just like to know what was going on in our family and specifically in that closed up little mind of yours all those years, or do you too have no idea either?  You see, even in a letter I feel I am getting nowhere.  And you are right Mother; these things are best not discussed at all, better to just concentrate on the few things we can do well rather than all of this raking up of the dog of a past it would really be best to leave asleep.

So, I will make the appointment with a hip specialist whether you want me to or not, and I will take you there myself in a taxi, and you will have the replacement and be back on your pins in no time, and don’t worry I won’t be giving you this letter either, it was only ever meant for me to read.

Love from your daughter Catherine