Conversations with my Mum

About the incredible woman that this incredible woman created.

This is my Nan

This is my Nan

It must be terribly hard being my Mum. She never complains though.

We’re best friends and I’d be screamingly lost without her. We talk a lot Mum and I – and mainly when I talk the only sense I’m making is to myself because invariably I just vocalise the gumf my brain won’t stop chaffing on about. I can see Mum looking at me with a mix of ‘did I really birth this/OhMyGod she needs professional help…again/I have zero clues about what she’s trying to say so I’ll  just nod when she takes a breath.’ on her face.

For example:

“Mum, you know that time when there was a gorilla on the loose and I hid behind the sofa because I saw him walk down the street?”

“Darling, there never was a gorilla on the loose, it was your Dad dressed as a gorilla for a fancy dress party when you were about three. I think your memory just got a bit squiffy.”


“OK darling.”


“Mum, your dog has taught my dog how to eat other dog’s poo and now I can’t let him into the house because all I can imagine are intestinal worms wriggling around his tongue and they’re obviously going to burrow into my skin and I’m going to wake up one day with intestinal worms spewing out of my eyes and Bernard will leave me and it’ll be all YOUR dog’s fault. You have to make it better because I don’t want intestinal worms spewing out of my eyes.”

“Can intestinal worms spew out of your eyes darling?”


Or (when she’s 25 minutes drive from me and probably doing something really important at the time, and I was 43 years old and really should have known better.)

“Mum, the new fridge freezer came but I asked the delivery men to leave it in the garden cos I wasn’t finished moving the old one out of the way. But when I was moving the old one it started raining really hard so I had to move the new one, and it fell on me, and I’m trapped and think I’m dying.”

“Darling. Shit. Wait there, don’t move, I’m coming.”


“Mum, is that a cockroach? That’s a cockroach isn’t it? For actual fuck sake it’s an actual cockroach and now I’m going to have to burn the whole garden down or move.”

“No darling, it’s a tiny black stone, look, it’s a stone darling.”

Mum is the only person who truly gets me, and by truly gets me, I mean, doesn’t get me at all but lets me soak in all my gumf without shame. Bernard’s* not doing bad at it, but it’s only been eleven years, he’s just at the sapling stage. Bless.


Today is the anniversary of my Nan’s death.


After my Granddad died, we three; Nan, Mum and I were close – the maiden, the mother, and the crone (but let’s just clear this up, I’d have never called my Nan a crone to her face, she’d have killed me dead.)

Then Nan got dementia.

She sometimes sounded loopy, and we’d laugh about it with her on her better days, she’d giggle her guttural 40-a-day fag giggle – the sound of which, to us, was infectious and precious.

Then she got worse, and sometimes angry, and many, many times funny because she had the funny, it was in her bones. But often she’d be like her five year old self – and, when her body gave up, she became bedbound too. Then her baby-blue-eyes lost all recognition. We were no longer her darlings. Sometimes she thought we were her enemy instead, or her long lost sister; or sometimes a stranger who’d come to say hello or steal her teabags.

And Mum nursed Nan. She held her gently like the exquisite and delicate masterpiece she was. Mum loved her and fed her, washed her and creamed her and dressed her in the funkiest of nighties you ever did see.

Nan said fuck a lot, offered the vicar a Bacardi when he came to give her communion, and in her dementia driven body, she loved and then disliked and then loved again everyone and everything with a passion. Her passion never left her.

But she was leaving us.

Slowly. Excruciatingly and painfully slowly – and she was suffering and it was horrible. And then she died and the bottom fell out of Mum’s world and I tried to hold Mum up whilst her knees buckled and I failed, but I wanted to take all the pain away – of course I couldn’t.

And last night as I was thinking of my Nan, and those early hours when she closed her baby-blues, and I was wishing my Mum a sound night’s sleep, and blocked out the reoccurring horror that one day I’ll lose her too – I distracted myself from the sad by catching up on Dooce, which normally would have worked,  but Dooce was having similar thoughts too, and shared this…and frankly, it rendered me useless for the rest of the evening: It was simply all my thoughts in one pool of beauty.



“What darling?”

“I’ve just had a dream that you died and I was clearing out your cleaning cupboard and  when I picked up the Mr Muscle I realised I’ll never see you again and it hurt so bad it made me wake up howling and I want you to know that if you ever die, then I’ll die too, and if that happens, It’ll be on your dead conscience for eternity that you murdered your own daughter in cold blood, so, in order to save your own soul and the life of your child you can’t die. Like ever. OK?”

“OK darling.”


Nan, I always did and I always will love you. Sleep softly dear lady xxx