This past weekend was a celebratory one for those in the religious sect. For many Christian’s, Friday to Monday marked the rebirth of their Christ. The resurrection. A celebration of life. For me, someone who does not subscribe to any specific ideology of religion, it simply marked another notch in the belt of first’s. The first Easter without my mum…
Since her suicide there have been a few first’s: Her birthday that she was no longer alive for. A mere month after her passing. First Christmas without her. First birthday without a card or call from mum. First New Year’s… All of those things act in their own right’s as a rebirth – a rebirth of pain. A reminder of a life lost. Not much cause for celebration.
I know, I know, ‘celebrate their life, not their loss.’ And I’ll get there. I will… It’s just hard right now…
My brother raised a poignant statement the other night – he said that none of us [the kids] had neither seen nor been around mum for many Easter’s now. He was right, we hadn’t. I think naively at least for me anyway, I always held onto the selfish notion of: “maybe next year… next year I’ll go see her.” ‘Next year’ turned into the following year, and the one after that, and another after that… all the way to this one – And you know what? I would give anything just to be with her right now. No excuses.
There was no resurrection for me this weekend. At least, not the kind the breeds hope and faith. Feelings of sadness and regret most certainly arose from their dormancy though. This weekend I found myself perched along many-a-bar counter, casting forlorn thoughts into the openings of my many bottles. Much like the past years of opportunity, one beer turned into another and another and another after that…
On one drunk night my aching mind whisked me back to a time long ago. A time when looked at through retrospective mind’s eye seemed simpler. Happier and peaceful. It took me to my childhood home. The one I grew up in. The one where mum was still around. More specifically, it reminded me of what Easter was like with dear ol’ mum. When I was young there would always be an early morning detective hunt for hidden chocolate. My clues were given to me through her accented verbal chimes of ‘warmer, warmer… cooler… cool.’ She would even help me out a little bit more when she could see me growing frustrated. As the years creeped on and I became older, the tradition of hidden chocolate never dwindled. Though I may not have been a detective anymore, my mother certainly never missed an opportunity to play cheeky games. The hidden areas became less hidden and more practical – the tea cupboard where she knew I would venture to first thing in the morning usually housed a deliciously tasty delight in the form of a chocolate bunny.
“Thanks, mum. Happy Easter.”
“To you as well, Matty-watt… Now make mum a tea? Yeah?”
“*Sigh* yes, mum.”
I’d give more than I can describe to enter into that familiar exchange with her once more. To hear her words lathered in her thick British tone. An accent uniquely her own. When I left home and as time passed, of course there was no more chocolate, but there was always a phone call. She would always call and euphoniously bellow through the speakers of my phone, “Happy Easter, Matty-watt.” Every Easter except this one… there was no chocolate, no card, nor a phone call. There was nothing. Which was everything that I needed in order to remember that she really and truly is gone… I will not find her on any detective hunt. There is no warmer, or colder. She is well and truly hidden away.
The morning after that intoxicated rumination into the past, I woke to a familiar bed-fellow – a growing nausea and a swollen head that throbbed like the cartoon thumb after being walloped by a hammer. Now I was sad and hungover, an Irish wake-up.
As this weekend traipsed on, I became increasingly aware of a deeply saddening irony: This weekend is designed to celebrate the rebirth of life. The defeat of sadness. The jovial celebration of life. Well for me, all the Easter bunny came with was an empty basket. A stark reminder of what is missing – she is…
For the remainder of my days on this world I will never again celebrate anything with my mum. Not a thing. The year of first’s is teaching me that, one passing holiday after the next…
Some memories of my mum I will always keep to myself. They are mine to have. No one else’s. I will however leave you with this: Imagine if you can, a small-framed woman sitting comfortably at the kitchen table. She is content in her morning solitude while holding a cigarette in one hand. Smoke swirls upwards into the abyss as she sits and readies herself for a new day. In front of her is a tea-cup (It is likely empty, and you will soon have to fill it for her). Now picture wiping the sleep away from your eyes as you descend the stairs of your home and then be met by a warm ‘mom’ smile. Not a bad way to start the day. You oblige making her a cup of tea while making sure she can see your teenage theatrics over completing said task. When you are done you place the steaming beverage in front of her and she smiles at your begrudging gestures as you finish handing her the tea. You stomp over to the couch before throwing yourself onto it and then turning the TV on. She sips her tea and you watch mindless flickering from an illuminated screen.
As you begin to get lost in whatever genre plays before you, your friend that had spent the night also comes down the stairs and joins you in your zombie like posture atop of the couch. You both now become entranced by whatever droves on from the TV when all of a sudden there is an uproarious clatter breaking from the kitchen table where the small-framed woman still sits. The noise is short-lived but just long enough for you to turn your head and meet the sound with your sight. It is upon peering over to the crescendo’s origin that you notice that this woman with cigarette in hand and tea in the other, has lifted her one butt-cheek and is actively letting loose a booming fart with no inhibitions of any kind.
Your eyes grow wide as saucers and when you turn your gaze away from the site of the flatulent orchestra to look at your friend, the look of their pure incredulity becomes so priceless that your horror and embarrassment turns into absolute hysterics. You both begin belly-laughing to the point where one of you falls from the couch!
“What? It’s only a bit-a-wind!” The lady states while fighting back a mischievous grin.
That was an Easter back when I was in Junior high. My friend, Robbie, had spent the night, and this was his introduction to my mother’s morning ritual. He laughed so loud with such a contagious guffaw that I can hear it even now and have had to hit the backspace button numerous times while attempting to finish writing this paragraph because I am laughing too much!
So, although I will not hear it back, nor ever again, I will say it anyway, even if it’s just to the ether: Happy Easter, mum. I love you. And wherever ye’ may be, let the wind blow free.
I will think of you mum, when the thunder rolls 😉.