My mother and I were completely, dedicatedly, passionately estranged from each other for more than thirty years. The 4,700 miles that physically separate us was a mere blip in the emotional chasm. Then, for reasons that are less than obvious, I guess we decided to grow up and we began corresponding with each other.
The letters were inconsequential at first, a careful jockeying, but then became more friendly and open. A neighbour of hers was familiar with Skype and soon we began chatting on a video link; seeing each other certainly helped the relationship develop.
About a year and a half ago my mother fell deathly ill. She was in the hospital and not expected to survive for long. I made the decision — almost inevitable now, it seems to me — to go back to England to visit her. She was shrunken and weak and I could finally forgive all the traits that has caused me to be so distant (even though, on her good days, she could still be as gloriously unpleasant as ever!)
Since then, she has gone through chemo and is in full remission. She is back at home, proudly looking after herself as she looks forward to her 86th birthday. More than half blind, she uses her mobility scooter to go shopping, happy to arrive home without having crashed into too many pedestrians. We speak regularly and are on excellent terms.
Last year we didn’t expect her to see Mother’s Day 2012 (and I don’t think she did either). So, for her to celebrate Mother’s Day 2013 is a true and wonderful joy. Happy Mother’s Day, Mum!