My mum Pat Rostron, died last week. My older siblings Tom and sister Jill and I were all with Mum and I am so glad about that.
Mum lived in a care home in Hamilton near Tom and Jill’s families. I am so grateful for all the love and care they lavished on Mum and also that given by my younger brother Nick and his wife, Jo. It has been a long hard journey for them and for Mum.
Mum had vascular dementia. As it eroded her memories she also became thinner and thinner. There was a sick irony to this. Ma always wanted to be thinner, and she couldn’t even get to enjoy it. I say this because I am reflecting on what a waste of time hating or disliking the body I have is. Life is too big and grand and mundane to spend time hating how I move through it.
I was thinking about other people’s funerals I have been to and how often children talk about their memories of their mothers. Somehow I want Mum’s memorial service to be about more than her as a parent, huge as that is in our lives. Ma had a whole life and identity other than being a parent and I wonder what she thought about things. I have snippets of information about her early life. She was born to a family with not much money in Auckland. At some point they lived near a beach. Mum was a great tennis player when she was young. She had air raid practice at school when they put on gas masks. She never saw one young man again after he took her for a drive and said his car went like a bomb. It then caught fire and Mum laughed uncontrollably. She went to Teacher’s College and my sister tells me she worked as a waitress on Waiheke Island and had a blast. I like gathering up these tidbits and am looking forward to garnering more as we share stories and memories.
Mum was precious to me. We had a very real relationship. We frustrated and misunderstood each other and loved each other always. I can’t miss her in the usual way. I have been missing her in pieces for years. She lost memories, words, faces and her sense of how she related to people. She was confused and frightened at times and always loved. Her mannerisms, her intent stare and her expressive face when something was definitely a No persisted. What also persisted was her love for littlies, she lit up when she saw her Great Grandchildren. She also lit up for any handsome men! Up would come her arms and she would blow kisses. She was a Man’s lady to the end.
Ma, you were a complicated creature, smart, funny, brutally honest at times and you certainly didn’t take crap from anyone.
I miss who and how you were and always will. I am glad that who and how you receded into being is free now.