editorial image

I think my mother is sending me messages from beyond the grave!

Mum will be dead 11 years this month, but lately I keep finding forgotten gifts that she gave me over the years with messages written inside.

A mother's love is priceless

A mother's love is priceless

The first was an inspirational poem that I had kept on my dressing table for years.

At some point I had taken it down and put it in a box of keepsakes.

She bought me the poem from a little shop called Unique that used to exist in Belfast city centre, back in the 1980s it sold quirky little items. I loved to shop there.

The verse was written by Helen Steiner Rice, entitled Heart Gifts and was in the form of a stand-up placard.

The poem tells of how it’s not the things that can be bought in life that are important but the gifts we give from the heart, like thoughtfulness and kindness.

She had written on the back: ‘all my love and kisses, happy birthday from Mummy’.

I traced my finger along her handwriting as a lone tear slid down my cheek. Her writing was so familiar; I hadn’t seen it for so long. She had etched those words over 30 years ago and given it to me on my 18th birthday.

I then stumbled upon the Bible she bought me for my 21st, she had inscribed it with the words: ‘God guide you always, happy birthday, all my love Mum’.

And today I unearthed yet another birthday gift she gave me on my 30th, a book called Go For It!, a self-help volume on how to increase self-esteem.

In the back cover nestled her handwritten words: ‘Yesterday is to learn from, today is to live in, tomorrow is to plan for, I love you, happy birthday Mum xo.’

It’s like receiving messages from another realm.

It’s been so long since I saw my mother’s face or heard her voice, it is almost as though she never existed.

Now all of a sudden her handwritten messages are appearing in gifts that she bought me for special birthdays.

Each gift was specially selected to give guidance and advice though life.

In a few days’ time I face a milestone birthday and I would love to think that perhaps these gifts that I keep stumbling across inscribed with love and birthday wishes, might be my mother’s way of celebrating this milestone with me.

I know it might sound silly but when you lose a loved one, sometimes, when it’s a special occasion you find yourself looking for signs that they are still in some way with you, that they are trying to acknowledge a special occasion with you.

As Mother’s Day approaches it can be a difficult time for those of us who are motherless.

Losing a parent changes you, it complicates you in a way you never were before.

There’s so much I’d like to share with my mother.

She never knew of her grandson or of my marriage.

The night I had my son I held my baby up to the night sky foolishly hoping that somehow, this would help her see him. I was running on hormones and grief.

Finding these little messages has made me feel like she’s close by me again.

I used to always make a fuss of her on Mother’s Day and now my son does that for me.

I will get a homemade card and best of all one of his ‘magic’ hugs, these are kept exclusively for special occasions.

He winds his arms around my neck and squeezes hard for longer than the common-or-garden-hug duration.

It’s the best gift in the world.

I read a quote recently that said; ‘the most precious jewels you’ll ever have around your neck are the arms of your child’ and those little arms of his certainly do feel precious.

My son finds it odd that I don’t have a mother and often questions me about her and where I put all my love for her once she was gone.

He gazed in awe at her handwriting on one of the books.

‘So she was real once!’ he said looking at her written message with great curiosity ‘and look she’s sent you a hug’ he pointed at the perfect round circle mum had put after her name.

‘It’s a pity you can’t feel it’ my son added, but I could!

Thinking of her and seeing her messages gave me a warm feeling as though she was there embracing me because a mother’s hug lasts long after she lets go!

Happy Mother’s Day!