On Mother's Day
It's Mother's Day again. I never really made a fuss over it, in the same way that any enforced gift-buying day could pass me by. Christine was uncomfortable around the day; her own mother died (of ovarian cancer) around this season, and it held those memories. Nonetheless, she'd get a hand-drawn card or letter from Tess, and tea and breakfast in bed from me. But generally, the day would leave me as it came - quietly and without fuss. Today is different. There's a big Christine-shaped gap in our lives, and those of you who truly knew her will understand that the chasm is hard to fill.
Today is different. I am off to the Davis Whole Earth Festival; a gathering of hippies at the university, to celebrate overpriced handmade jewellery, organic clothes and garish tie-dye. Normally I eschew such events, but today I have a Purpose, and will brave the heat, the barely-clad and the dawdlers to man the Mankind Project booth. I will hear music, read the same book I was reading two months ago and still won't finish. I will be amazed at the ability of people to brave sunburn and heat stroke. I will marvel over the fact that the event is touted as "No Waste", and rejoice whenever I see a child pick up someone else's discarded trash. And I will be saddened over loss.
On Friday I presented Tessie with a bottle of Mexican Coke. Not a great gift, you might feel, and you'd be correct. But for her it represented my whole ethos on gift-buying, that it comes from the heart. She said "It means more when you buy me things, because I know you really thought about me". I'm touched by this, and I'm pleased that she recognises the difference between the hastily-bought tchotchke and the true gift. I buy my presents few, and often. There's a ritual we both enjoy; I'll ask her to close her eyes, open her hands. Sometimes she's excited, sometimes not, but the joy of watching her guess is enough for me; the delight of seeing her face light up is my gift to myself.
I know, she knows, that the greatest gift I gave her was the 5,500 miles I travelled for her and Christine, the seven years I devoted to love and care, and the fight that I continue for her. She's the only woman in my life now, and that is Christine's gift to me today. It's also my gift to Christine, one I am still wrapping.
Happy Mother's Day. I miss you.