It was five years ago today that my mother died.
Visitors to this blog will have seen the little angel in the photo before. Still, it's one of those small gifts from my mother that will always remind me of her.
The flowery cup in the photo is another gift from her. I can remember times when I'd go shopping with her, so she could buy me a present for my birthday or other occasion.
She'd generally want me to like something more 'girly' or decorative -- jewellery or a fancy, fitted sweater. It took many years, but eventually I was able to convince her of my tastes. If it's clothing, I prefer something second-hand and baggy. Jewellery; not even the second-hand store usually turns up much for me.
It took years, but we finally struck agreement on a gift I would both enjoy and use: something for my seemingly-endless cups of coffee. Still, what kind of cup might that be? Ah, our quiet disagreements dribbled on...
She'd want to buy me a dainty little cup, often one with a saucer. To me, saucers are best used as small serving plates, not as something extra to cart around (or to wash) as accompaniment to a cup.
So the hardest part was convincing her that I was a 'mug' person. But I persisted long enough that she finally agreed.
Compromising on the degree of 'cutesy' or 'pretty' aspects were yet another hurdle. The cup (er, mug) in the photo serves as an example of one of our best compromises. Bright and pretty, not too 'pinky' or delicate in its design -- an item that I still enjoy using.
Something she and I more easily agreed on was good literature. One of the writers whose work both of us admired was Doris Lessing, the Nobel-winning author who died yesterday. If you click on the link at her name, you'll get one of the best overviews of Lessing I've been able to find on the web. I really like and am a firm believer in the quote posted at the header of the article. My 'best reads' are often books I've found by a method I call my 'radar' and no, I'm not afraid to not finish a book that keeps losing me.
Choosing the article I linked onto does, I admit, reveal some bias on my part, as I'm a longtime fan of science fiction, a genre Lessing sometimes called 'space fiction'.
One of the aspects of Lessing's work that isn't always referred to (though it is mentioned in the piece I've linked to) is her belief that many of the ailments referred to in contemporary society as mental illnesses are really just a kind of clear-eyed sanity that comes with seeing how crazy the reality of our world is. I've actually had more than one therapist agree with this observation.
For years, I was criticized for self-prescribing when I experienced depression, a condition my mother experienced as well. Happily, I see now that I wasn't so far off the beam and that my self-treatment (sleep) did not justify the derision I took for 'taking to my bed' again. Especially in wintry times (and here in Northern climes, where our days are now getting so short), maybe a kind of hibernation is just plain good for us.
And with that, I'll say Sweet Dreams. Maybe my mother will visit tonight.