Happy Mothers Day Little Owl
Dear Little Owl,
"You get one shot at this life so don’t waste it, make the most of it and leave your mark. I want to make you proud!"
It’s around 5pm on a normal Tuesday I look down the end of our road waiting. Nothing. No sign. Then suddenly around the corner on the left side of the road there you are, coming back from work, marching along fiercely with intent and pace. For someone so small you always covered a lot of ground quickly, it never took you long before you opened our front door. I’m 14.
24 years later it’s a Sunday morning 8am. I look out of the same window to see if anyone is there. Nothing. I’m older, I have two beautiful daughters now and the same family home we grew up in is now my family home. Then around the corner - on the right side of the road these days, come the unmistakable little footsteps. Not with the same power and intent as 24 years earlier. You are older and the last 15 years have started to take their toll. Nevertheless, here you come knocking on the door. Sweets in hand for Ivy.
Today I look out of that same window hoping to see you. Nothing on the left side. Nothing on the right side. I know you won’t come this time no matter how long I wait. Still I stand there and pretend to myself and play the game, taking myself back to all the times you did appear. It seems strange that I hold on to this, but somehow it keeps me keep connected to you. I still find it strange to believe you aren’t here.
I’m scared mum because as each day passes I don’t always see you as vividly as I did in the early days, so often when I put Olive to bed in the dark I close my eyes desperate to see your face again, all the pictures help though. I’m afraid because your voice has grown quieter recently, that’s why I keep your voicemails still and listen to your favourite music – yes including Julio Iglesias. I often reflect on the last conversation I had with you, when you held my hand, looked in my eyes and told me that you loved me, and that you’d be OK. I often reflect back on those last 30mins when you were lying in the ICU unit and run that film again and again. Don’t worry I’m OK with it, I just wonder did you really hear what I was telling you about how much I loved you as you lay there?
"... as long as we remember you, you will always be with us."
5 months have passed since you left us, to the day almost. We all miss you terribly, it still doesn’t seem real, I’m not sure it ever will. What a 5 months it has been. What a roller coaster. Despite everything we are all OK and are really well. Ivy and Olive are growing up fast and Amy is doing an incredible job of bringing the girls up and looking after me. Ivy asks after you especially when she walks past your flat, she often asks to go in one more time. She takes your monkey to bed with her and often cuddles up to him. For someone so young she’s pretty switched on, she tells us she doesn’t want the dark shadow to take mummy and daddy. She now realises you are not with us physically anymore, which is pretty big thing to get your head around even for me, let alone a 4yr old.
I’m not going to lie it has been rough at times but I’m trying to make something positive from all of this craziness. I wrote a book in your memory called “The Little Owl”! It’s about appreciating all the special people and the little things in life, and to never stop telling your story, because as long as we remember you, you will always be with us. It was originally for the girls but now I’m using it to try and help others going through something similar.
I’ve reflected a lot since you’ve gone, I spent a lot of time in your last few years unfairly blaming you for you not being who I expected you to be, and for some of my own faults. I didn’t fully appreciate your own demons, and what you were going through, I maybe didn’t give you what you needed from me to help you deal with these. I’m so sorry. I know you won’t hold it against me. I also forgot so much of the good stuff we had, which I now cherish. Sadly, it took you dying for me to realise some pretty big lessons, which I’m now trying to make right now, I'm going to give the girls everything you gave me and more.
Be kind – I want to touch people how you have touched me. Not judging or pulling people down. I want to see the good in people even in the most challenging times when there seems no good to be seen
Be generous - You gave me and Dan so much, not just physical things, but the things money can’t buy, your love, your time, your support, your kindness
Be more ambitious – You get one shot at this life so don’t waste it, make the most of it and leave your mark. I want to make you proud!
Be more authentic – I always wondered who I was and was that good enough, I’m getting comfortable in my shoes now
Be grateful – Being thankful for everything you have ever done for me and looking at everything I have right now has been one of the biggest factors of getting me through this time
Be braver – Its ok to cry, its ok to fail, its ok to get it wrong, it’s all part of the journey
Be more curious – Stop reacting, jumping to conclusions and beating myself up if I don’t know the answer. Ask more questions to truly understand the world we live in
So, I’m trying hard to take responsibility for my own faults now and not blame or pass them onto others, trying to be a better son, a better dad, a better husband a better brother, a better friend, a better person. It’s hard but I’m working at it.
Oh, one last thing, are you hanging around the house, we’ve had some strange things happening recently, pictures moving strange noises etc. I’m not going to lie it has been freaking me out a bit?
Anyway, I miss you, I love you mum, happy Mothers Day!