It was the Mother's day Assembly at my daughters school this morning and it was beautiful. I was certainly not the only Mum dabbing away tears as the little beauties sang their hearts out, blew kisses and recited poetry to their Mums and Grandmas. But for me it was bittersweet as it fell on what is an emotional day for me anyway, a day when my own beloved Mum is already foremost in my thoughts.
Six years ago today my beautiful Mum died very suddenly. Six years. In many ways it seems like longer and yet it also feels like yesterday. My grief has changed over the years. I miss her deeply and constantly but those moments of intense sadness have become rarer. The pangs of longing for her to be here to touch, hug, kiss, seek help from, cry to, laugh with, eat and drink with are now sporadic but are no less overwhelming when they do hit. And they do so at unpredictable moments.
There are many things that remind me of her. Almost every time I eat an incredibly delicious meal I wish she was here to share it with, I travel to wonderful places and regret that I was never able to take her there, every time I or my children achieve something that makes me proud I long to be able to tell her and revel in her warm glow, I want her to see every new haircut and tell me that I look beautiful. She was loving and glorious. And she has left a vast hole in an otherwise full and joyful life.
Small things can make you feel close to a lost loved one. I have a recipe notebook of hers and the sight of her familiar handwriting, the taste of her familiar food and the sense of nearness I get from knowing we have that shared experience of preparing the same meal is hugely comforting to me. And my sisters have some of her old makeup - not to use, but to keep knowing that she used it.
She was a beauty, my Mum. Wendy Ann Hodgson. Born in 1951 she rocked the sixties miniskirt as a teenager and used to iron her blonde wavy hair between greaseproof paper to get poker straight lengths. She really cared about how she looked just like I do. She had a small makeup collection but I remember it well. I would sit on her bed and chat to her as she was getting ready and the sight and smell of certain products throw me straight back to her dressing table. She used Chanel foundation (which as a teenager I would occasionally pinch), and loved an old style Lancome lipstick (before they changed it to the fancy new clunk-click case) and their smells are so evocative for me still.
I am so grateful that she was a loyal perfume user. Because of this there are fragrances that will forever remind me of her and will forever give me comfort. The passing scent of a woman wearing Clarins Eau Dynamisante, Samsara by Guerlain (she used to wear WAY too much of this - slightly overpowering!), Chanel No.5 and the long discontinued Gianni Versace turns my head instantly. They are HER fragrances and for that fleeting second I can breathe her in. For that fleeting second she is with me still.
Breathe your own Mums in this Sunday if you are lucky enough to have them. And hold on to them. Happy Mothers Day xx
Wendy Ann Hodgson 04.08.1951 - 09.03.2012