Mum's The Word
It's not Mother’s Day, it's not even her birthday; but I wanted to write a little something for my sweet Mum, so I hope you'll indulge me this once in deviating a little from my exclusively bowel-based verse.
I know she will read this because she reads everything I write. I think she probably has since I first learned how to write. She's undoubtedly endured a lot of terrible, terrible childhood scrawlings and teenage angsty fiction and I'm very sorry about that. She always reads my writing now because she is proud of me, and I hope because she enjoys it. At least she tells me she does, every time. I choose to believe her because life is better that way. My dog aside, she is my most loyal fan. Plus she almost always smells much better and sheds decidedly less on my couch.
My Mum is a great person. She is someone I love and love to be around, which is an added bonus. She is funny, and fun and gentle and loving. She is my friend and my greatest supporter. She often looks at me like I were a rare Ming vase, which is incredibly flattering but it makes me feel a little sad. I don't like that she has to worry about me and my ill health but I understand it because I worry about her too.
Being raised Catholic I tend to feel guilty for anything and everything as it is, but the effect my disease has on the people around me, and namely my Mum is a much bigger source of guilt for me than merely forgetting to take the bin out. I feel guilty for worrying my loved ones. I hate that they have to see me looking and feeling like a walking corpse. I hate not being able to abate their fears, or at the very least give them solid answers to their questions. I feel guilty for being sick.
Of course I know logically there’s close to zero that I can do about this. I have an incurable illness so beyond finding a miracle cure that fact won’t change. I won’t stop feeling guilt for upsetting the people I love; I think that’s incurable too. I often walk a tricky tightrope between talking too much about my illness and not talking enough. I never know how much is ‘too much’ information for my loved ones to handle. I want to be honest and open but I hate seeing the concern in their faces that I cause and can’t placate. It’s painful knowing I’m causing their unhappiness.
However I’m aware I’m incredibly lucky to have people in my life who care enough to worry about me. I don’t take that for granted (at least I try not too most of the time), because I cherish it. I treasure my Mum and I value her outlook, her care and I try my utmost to return it. Chronic illness is hard on families too. It’s destructive and harmful, so it’s very important to be transparent with the people you love. We need to talk about our fears and such for our own sake and for those who love us. Sharing our worries can often help to ease them; things might not be as bad as we initially perceive, so honesty is rationally the best policy. So in the interests of transparency and honesty; Mum, you’re the best thing since Kingsmill made a loaf without crusts. I love you xo