My mum used to say that there is a special connection between a mother and her child, but there is an even more special one between a mother and her daughter. She knew what she was talking about – we had that connection.
From shopping, to cleaning and cooking we did everything together. I used to climb into her bed on a Saturday morning; we would cuddle and talk about everything and anything. She wanted to teach me everything she knew – we spent hours doing chores, baking and chatting. It was the most fun I’ve had learning.
I will never forget one particularly cold winter. I was 11 and we were waiting for a bus. My cheeks were bright red and my breath was turning into icicles on my scarf within seconds. The raw wind was piercing through my coat, chilling me to the bone. Mum stood behind me shielding me from the wind and rubbing my arms to warm me up. And although she was fighting a losing battle against the gale, somehow I felt warmer.
Years later, when I went to university and moved out, she found it tough to let go of me. It ripped my heart out when she unexpectedly passed away on a February morning.
I still remember the room swaying when I was told she had died just a few hours earlier. From there everything happened very quickly and before I knew it I was unpacking her wardrobe and putting everything into the attic until I was ready to deal with it.
Over the years the pain subsided and I managed to move on. But sometimes it still catches me off guard when I least expect it, like at a friend’s birthday party.
Carla and I met two years ago at New Years party and it was love at the first strike of the clock. We quickly became chummy, sharing deepest secrets and hanging out at my place in pyjamas and with no make up on. In girls’ world, that is the highest level of friendship.
It was the end of January and Carla’s birthday was coming up. She booked an outdoor area in a local bar. It was a little unorthodox for January but with blazing heaters, comfortable sofas and thoughtfully provided blankets the lounge had that snug feel with a touch of Scandi-chic.
I sat next to Carla’s mum, Trudy, and we huddled under the same blanket. People were coming and going but we stayed next to each other, chatting about coffee and men, shoes and properties; drinking and giggling.
The night was in full swing and I noticed a couple of familiar faces. Leaving Trudy talking to some of the girls, I walked over to them to say hello. Later on I ended up in a smoking booth catching up with some friends with the cold slowly creeping up and down my body. When I could no longer feel my toes, I returned to the lounge and the comfort of the blanket. As I sat next to Trudy all frozen, she immediately wrapped a blanket around my legs and rubbed my knees warm.
It was such a motherly gesture, exactly what my mum would’ve done. As I inhaled Trudy’s perfume that became so familiar and somehow smelt like a mum, the unwanted tears started prickling my eyes and I quickly blinked them away. The chill of familiar pain of loss started spreading in my body, making me even colder.
Carla came over and sat next to us. I looked at Trudy and Carla, mother and daughter, it occurred to me that I was a little jealous of the fact that they could enjoy each other’s company. I no longer could do that with my mum.
As I was listening to their chatter, I realised I was lucky enough to have had my mum for as long as I did. I would forever treasure the memory of her but she left me when she did because I was ready to take on the world without her.
And somewhere between my second G&T and a burst of laughter across the room I felt warmer. Because someone else’s mum put a blanket around me and rubbed my knee warm. Just like my mum would’ve done.