The hardest day of all is a mundane Monday

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Ah, the seasonal aisles have changed from romantic chocolates, roses and everything heart-shaped to candles, prosecco and home spa gifts. It’s a stressful time for everyone; how do you thank your mum for everything she’s done in the last year with the last £20 of your pay, or how do you avoid the constant hammering of the build-up when she’s not there to thank?

For me, it’s been the latter for my entire adult life; I was 16 when my mum died of breast cancer. That makes it 8 years I’ve seeing people panic-buying cards last minute to celebrate everything their mum means to them. Mothers’ Day is an obvious one for the esteemed members of the DMC but the days that have been hardest for me are far from the obvious ones.

The person who isn’t there anymore

When you’re growing up, you have a picture in your head of some special milestones you hope to hit, like your graduation day. I never necessarily pictured where I’d be or what degree I got, but I always saw myself in a gown, holding a scroll, getting my photo taken with my parents. My dad will be wearing the same suit he has worn for every wedding since the day I was born (including his own) and my mum will be making sure her fascinator is properly in place. At least I was mostly right. I was running around in the morning trying to get ready on time when I suddenly stopped and realised the photo I was going to get, the one that will sit on the mantlepiece forever, was going to have someone missing. I thought about how my dad would feel, wishing he was sharing such a proud moment with the love of his life. The happiest day of my life so far quickly changed to another day of avoiding how everyone was really feeling, the empty seat from my spare ticket, and the missing third of the photo.

I just think, how great would it be to ask my mum about this?

Another thing that will never be how I pictured it are break-ups. Granted, I can’t imagine many people were prepared in any way for their first heartbreak, but I never got the relationship/love advice from my mum that I imagine is invaluable. Yeah, I have my dad, who’s relationship experience is pretty extensive, and he has many brilliant insights into the female brain that he can explain to me in a way I understand. But when you’ve gone full Bridget Jones and you haven’t washed in 5 days, what you really need is the words that can only come from the love of a mother, especially when you’ve never shied away from the world’s greatest hugs. Like many men, I really struggle to understand what’s going on in the mind of the woman I’m dating. And I just think, how great would it be to ask my mum about this?

The hardest day

But the hardest day of all is a mundane Monday. You get home from work and you’re bored. That’s when I feel the worst done by, the days I deserve a mum again. I’d call her and we’d talk for hours about everything and nothing, or I’d go round and we’d share a bottle of wine. A mum is that one person who will never fail to hype you up and always be at your every need at the snap of a finger. I will forever miss the things I never got to have more than the things that I did. My dream wouldn’t be for a Mothers’ Day, or a Christmas, or any of the ‘Big Days’ with her again; it would be for a trivial text to remind me to put the clocks back before bed and getting to tell her every year that everything updates itself now.

Callum Flannigan

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