WITHOUT MY MUM’S GUESTLIST: Questions I Wish I Could Ask My Mum

WITHOUT MY MUM’S GUESTLIST: Questions I Wish I Could Ask My Mum

By Helen Ugwu

Don't be fooled be the Sellotape in her hair, this woman is a hero...
Don’t be fooled be the Sellotape in her hair, this woman is a hero…

Once in a while you read something that knocks your socks off.  I had another blog post to try and finish today, but scrap that, this list from Helen who write’s Without My Mum is WAY better.

Here’s her ‘Questions I Wish I Could Ask My Mum’.


 

My mum died from cancer on a July day in 2012, six months after she was diagnosed. I was newly married and just pregnant. There was the time before, and there is now, and they are nothing of the same. I often wonder about the mother I would have become if she had lived. Less shouty? Calmer? Lazier? We are raising these little people without her guidance and wisdom and support, but not without her love. That surrounds us, still. These are the things I wish I could ask her:

 

  • How do you make a really good lemon meringue pie? And is it worth the bother? Because it’s quite a lot of trouble. This question also applies to crackling, gravy and soufflé. Obviously I’ll never make a soufflé, but the others would be useful.

  • Are my standards too low? I have been known to leave pooy pants “soaking” in the bathroom sink for up to five days before finally tackling them (throwing them in the bin). Is my potty-cleaning regime (a cursory swill) rigorous enough? I haven’t cleaned the oven in four years and when someone bought Eve a toy iron she didn’t know what it was. The baby’s got a dreadlock and the other day I found a fish finger in our bed. So I can sort of answer this one myself.

  • Did you ever sit in the car in the rain outside your own house just to get away from your screaming children for ten minutes?

  • How did you cook Sunday dinner for 18 people on a regular basis with good humour and good grace and without ever crying or shouting at anyone?

  • Will it all be ok? I sat beside you one afternoon that Spring and put my head in your lap and you told me it would be ok. You didn’t mean that you wouldn’t die, because I think you knew by then that you would. You meant that things would be ok even without you. I wish I could tell you they were.

  • Was there anything you didn’t like about being a mum? If there was you never once let it show.

  • Should we leave London? The North is cheap.

  • If we leave London, what should I do for a living?

  • Did you smile somewhere last week when Eve trotted around Sainsbury’s after me and the baby, referring to him as “you little slug”? Except in her Cockney accent it sounded like slag. And so what you got was a 2 year old following her mummy around the supermarket repeatedly shouting, “you little slaaag”.

  • Do I take good enough care of my sisters? I want to protect them from harm and hold them close. But I am not you. And it’s you they need.

  • Remember your dishwasher facial sauna? Every time I open a hot dishwasher I close my eyes and breathe in the steam and think of you.

  • Why has Dad painted the kitchen that hideous shade of Disney yellow?

  • Were you as bad at breastfeeding as I am? I am a horrible breast-feeder. I know you tried and it didn’t work, so you (sensibly) bottle-fed us. But did it send you wildly and completely mad? Did it fill you with despair and misery and shame? If only you’d been here to tell me to stop. I’d have listened to you.

  • Want me to tell you what happened in Homeland?

  • Were you ever angry? That it happened to you? That you were robbed of your grandchildren? These babies are a gift, and it was meant for you.

  • What shall I read next? We liked the same things and you always passed on your `books. You were far better-read than I will ever be.

  • Did I let you down that night? The night before you died when I didn’t stay with you. When I let my little sister stay instead and told myself it was because she was a doctor and could take better care of you. But you didn’t need doctors then, you needed daughters. And I wasn’t there. I will always be sorry.

  • Should I ring Dad more? [Dad shouts, “NOOOO!”]

  • Did the teenage me give you a hard time? My skirts were a bit short and my tops were a bit low. But that was the worst of it, I promise. I wish I’d told you that.

  • Do you know that Granny died? I thought I’d think about her more than I do, but my mind always lands back on you.

  • Should we get a dog?

  • Will our family ever feel complete again? Will there be a dinner round a table where we do not think you are missing? Will there always be a hole in our lives and a stone in my chest?

  • Am I enough?

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8 thoughts on “WITHOUT MY MUM’S GUESTLIST: Questions I Wish I Could Ask My Mum

  1. Oh my goodness I’m in floods of tears. Beautiful, sad and funny. I want to write something like “oh she is so proud of you” as I see all the Americans doing after similar blogs, but I always think “how do you know?”, so I shan’t. But the sentiment is there, if you understand.

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  2. This is the saddest and most honest list I have ever read on the internet. I am so sorry for your loss and wish you a lifetime of happiness with your children.

    PS – we also think about leaving London but there’s a reason the North’s cheap 😉 Bad weather!

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  3. Yes you are MORE than ‘enough’ and you must believe in yourself. There is no need to wonder if your Mum is watching over you – you know she is, you can sense her presence at your every move – otherwise why did you smile in Sainsbury’s? – because you sensed your Mum was smiling too!
    In the middle of the night, when you are breast feeding, do you ever look out of the window into the dark night sky and see a distant light on in a window far over the rooftops and wonder if that is another Mum, also awake in the middle of the night feeding her baby? You are not alone.

    You are already a wonderful human being, as you can look at your innerself and criticise yourself – and admit your faults publicly. There is no shame in that, you are more brave than most! No one is perfect, but you are doing your best and that is what matters and I am sure you can sense your Mum telling you that. Keep going on the track you are following and you won’t go far wrong. Believe in your gut instinct, it in usually right! Your children are lucky to have a wonderful Mum like you. Make the memories with them now, that you wish you could have made with your Mum and hopefully this will help you find inner peace. Good luck x

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