This week I lost my second mummy. I’ve known my best friend’s mum since I was 13 years old. But for the longest time I always called her Mummy. Because she was mum to practically everyone she met. I’ve never known a woman so generous of spirit. She was the type of person to give you her heart and her soul, and even after that would then ask if you wanted a tea or a coffee. Whenever I think of happiness I think of her. I don’t recall a time when I’ve ever seen her sad, or angry, or cranky, or annoyed. She didn’t make you laugh in the way a class clown would. That was always left up to her husband. But you could laugh with her, uproariously and often. Although in my case she’d then tell me to shush a little bit. But that’s nothing new for me. She always had time for you, even if she didn’t actually have the time. She would always make it. It was not an unusual sight for various friends, friends of friends, friends of her children, and people of the neighbourhood to drop by unannounced, because they just wanted to have a cuppa and spend some time with her.
One of my favourite recent memories was Christmas 2013. I was finally at the end of my first trimester, and revelling in telling everyone I knew about my pregnancy. My Second Mummy’s reaction was one of the best. Every Christmas my best friend’s family holds Christmas Carols at their house for the neighbours to come and enjoy. Knowing full well she would casually greet me with, “Hello darling, how are you?”, my plan was to answer “Oh you know, pregnant”. I get there and it plays out exactly as I had planned. Second Mummy gives me a hug whilst saying “Hello darling, how are you?” I answer exactly as above. I feel her tense for a moment in shock. She pulls apart from me, “WHAT?! AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” She dances around for a moment then announces to the whole yard that it was simply the BEST news she’d heard all year. I quickly had to remind her that her own daughter got engaged not two months prior. “Second best Mum, second best news!” I said. To this day that memory always makes me smile.
So when I heard about her diagnosis of motor neurone disease I was stunned and heartbroken. Stunned for the fact that she was now the THIRD person I knew close to me to fall victim to this horrible, and supposedly rare disease. And heartbroken because I knew exactly what she was about the go through. MND should be a disease left aside for only the cruellest of people to suffer from. There are perfectly healthy paedophiles, rapists and murderers rotting away in our prisons. Donald Trump is still triumphantly goose-stepping his way across America. And various agents of ISIS are allowed to thrive, and dismantle our world piece by piece. And yet, my second mummy is the one who gets to die from MND. She’d already had to deal with so much, from cancer to fibromyalgia. Why now MND!? Is this possibly some sort of sick joke? Or perhaps a terrible misdiagnosis? No, it’s the cold hard reality that we all had to face. Yes, I’ve been incredibly angry for months now. But nowhere near as angry as I’ve seen my best friend. Nor as devastatingly heartbroken as I saw her the other night. The look of anguish on her face I wish not see again, but know that I will probably for weeks, if not months to come. Why is death so hard? It is something that is inevitable for all of us. It has literally touched everyone we known, have ever known and ever will know. You’d think by now we’d know what to say and what to do. That in 3 million years of human evolution we’d have worked it out by now. But finding the right words are so impossible. Comforting words for one person can be the worst possible thing to say for another.
Some people I know at the moment will try and comfort her family in the general sense. “We’re sorry for your loss”. “Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time”. “Let us know if there’s anything we can do”. The more pious amongst us will try to placate the negative feelings with “It’s all in God’s plan”. The spiritual will say “God just needed a new angel in heaven”. I’d rather not insult anyone, so instead all I’ll say is I disagree. I know that her time here was not yet up. She wasn’t finished here yet, and she certainly wasn’t ready to go. She wasn’t done giving us her love, and we weren’t done giving her ours. That may be selfish, but I know it’s the truth. And as for a “Plan”, all I can say is I think God might have skipped a few pages in his Plan Book when he made this decision to take her from us.
Recently I’ve spoken of the Many Worlds Principle. In that every action and choice we make leads to the creation of an entirely different reality. I like to think that in not only one, but in MANY worlds out there, my Second Mummy still lives. She’s still pottering along in her life, free from pain and turmoil, greeting her visitors with “Hello darling, how are you?” She lives on in those worlds. But in this world she’s gone, and must instead live on only in our hearts and minds. And whatever you believe, I choose to believe that one day at least, we may indeed meet again.
I miss you and I love you Mummy. Rest in peace now.