Day Five

Mothers Day. It’s usually a bit of a tough day for me; my mum died in 2013. She had cancer, I was her carer when she was going through her treatment. Normally I try to stay off social media as I find it difficult to see people sharing pictures of their families. This year feels different. A lot of people are separated from their mums at the moment, in an attempt to protect them from COVID-19. There is a feeling of solidarity amongst people, a feeling of sacrifice and of overwhelming love even though they are apart.

I remember when my mum was sick, I would’ve done anything to swap places with here. To take the pain away from her. To protect her from any suffering. I remember crying quietly one day when I heard Kate Bush Running Up That Hill on the radio and the words resonated with me so much.

“And if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
I’d be running up that road
Be running up that hill
Be running up that building
If I only could,
Oh come on, baby
Oh come on, darling
Let me steal this moment from you now
Oh come on, angel
Come on, come on, darling
Let’s exchange the experience.”

In that moment I would have sold my soul to the devil just to take her pain away and go through it for her. But unfortunately cancer doesn’t work like that. I had to learn to live with that and it made me feel so powerless.

For those of you separated from your loved ones at the moment, take heart in knowing that by staying away, you are protecting them. You are putting yourself in their place, potentially catching this virus so that they don’t have to. Staying away from them is absolutely the right thing to do. I didn’t have the chance to protect my mum from illness, but you do. So please, stay away from your loved ones and hopefully you will get to hug them again.

This morning Eddie and I went to Crosby Beach, it’s one of our favourite places to go. It was a cold but sunny morning and we had a lovely time playing with sticks and frolicking about on the sand. I like to come down here to remember my mum. Growing up in Liverpool, days out to crosby beach were a summer staple. Usually it would be me, my sister, my mum, my aunty and my four cousins. We would set up camp on the stone steps then spend the day enjoying the sunshine whilst trying in vain to stop the sand from getting into our home made sandwiches. Once we were packing up to go home at the end of a day on the beach, everyone was exhausted, the tide had come in and was right up to the steps. During the rush to pack away my sister started crying because she had lost one of her flip flops. Some one noticed it, floating out on top of the water. Then my mum (all 4 foot 11 of her), waded out, like John the Baptist, until she was waist deep in the sea and retrieved the flip flop! I always laugh about that when I see those steps. I had such a happy childhood and remember moments like that fill me with a real nostalgic sense of joy.

Feeling a little socially distance, now several days since any face to face interaction, I took a selfie with an iron man (excuse the state of me, I’m in isolation so give 0 fucks). There are 100 cast iron, life size sculptures spanning a 3 km stretch along Crosby beach. Originally a temporary installation, Another Place by Antony Gormley is now a permanent fixture on the sea front.

I should’ve been in London this weekend doing my show at Vault Festival. One of the things I was really looking forward to was celebrating “Other’s Day” with a group of people who have also had their parents die. I found the “Young Orphans” group purely by chance when I was scrolling twitter a few weeks ago. I thought some of them might enjoy my show and offered them some discounted tickets. They invited me along to their Others Day Brunch. Obviously with the situation as it is none of that went ahead. We did however manage a chat through Zoom, which is a great way of having multi-person video chats. It was great to chat to some new friends that have similar experiences to me around parent loss. I’m looking forward to a point in the future when we can all meet up in person.