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Mama, gardener, teacher, photographer, faffer with paint and colour

Friday 28 August 2015

Too Much Too Young

This was written for a friend about her mum, she has allowed me to post it here in the hope that it may help others understand.

Too Much Too Young

She beams, says hello and asks how I am, remarks what a lovely place and then says

I think I have been here before
yes I am sure I have.
I try to remember if she had visited before when my daughter was little maybe,
I don’t think so

She says wistfully
I think it was last week.

The first flicker in me of knowing
this is it
this is where it goes wrong

She looks tired,
really tired
Like each moment is lived a thousand times
Trapped in her own thoughts
Not knowing where the door is to get out
or even what door she is looking for, or how she got there anyhow.

Its ok that first moment, not as awkward as I had imagined

with a lurch

we talk about a family that she knows who may have brought her there last week do I know them?
I say I don’t but that lots of these big granite houses look the same around here.

She falls on her sandwich like she hasn’t eaten in a good while.
There is a deliberateness when she eats.Both hands on the sandwich.
Casual, carefree are not words that she will own now.

A smaller bird than she used to be,
she used to be wiry and brown and light
going to far away places, adventures
a strong migrating bird
searching for sun
Now she is littler
the winter bird that stayed at home
I want to protect her

Her daughter passes out the wrapped sandwiches to the hungry kids and the quiet mum.

We laugh and talk about sandwiches being so much better they are when someone else makes them for you. If only she was able to make her own picnic
choose which bread, which filling, shop for herself,
prepare and plan. Pack.Gather her belongings.Walk out the door car keys in hand. Meet you there.

Her freedom has gone

now and then a spark of chat about her flat
or laughing about still being a mum as well as a grannie
and I am fooled
until she asks
don’t you remember me ?
The hole in the ground yawns wide.

She is too cruelly young for this.
Cycles of words that wrap around and around. Mother and daughter
ask and answer, ask and answer
Patience, a kind that has been used for a long time.

She asks me how long I have lived there and then a few lines later asked how long I had lived there and suddenly
Did I just ask you that already? A hesitancy, an awareness.
The veil is nearly pulled away
A glimpse and then gone
The filter stubbornly remains.

I show her the place on the river where I saw an otter,
thinking in her travels, her walking, that she would like that.
The wistful look flickers on her face and she quickly says
Oh yes I saw an otter too, I’m not sure where it was now...

Later I hug her goodbye
giving all my love in that hug
I am a little girl grown now but she has no memory of me
I hug her just as a person in that moment
no past
just love
futilely whispering,
take care.


  1. Replies
    1. I am sure, I know you also went through a really tragic time.I think for a lot of people it is a living hell.......Sending you back big love.xxxx