Remembering Mum

plaque on bench featuring the message, Our Mummy Jayne Barrass - always look for the good.

Yesterday I went to visit the tree where we scattered mum’s ashes. 

Seeing that tree is always a cross between a sucker punch and a homecoming – I feel all at once with mum, but also unbelievably sad that she isn’t physically there with me. 

Whilst Buddy was leaping like a lamb across the long grass, I took a moment to talk to mum. I stood under the tree and I gave her a tea (apologies to the unsuspecting worms who enjoyed an extremely warm and milky bath without warning). I told her the latest news, and let her know we were all doing okay. I love it there because I know it is exactly where she wanted to be, and I am so glad every time I go.

After two years being without mum, it’s quite difficult to remember certain things that you never thought you’d forget – her voice, her laugh. Luckily we still have videos and lots of photos that help, and (fortunately…or unfortunately?!) I will never forget her unsolicited pearls of wisdom, delivered without context at any given moment – “be careful in Falmouth, Hat. Jellyfish.” 

Some days I go down an iCloud black hole, and scroll through every photo and video I have – remembering mum in all her glory. It’s a tortuous joy, and it never gets easier or less enjoyable. I love looking at them, but I wish I had more videos of mum doing day-to-day things, like making a cup of tea or slicing cheese so thinly you could probably watch TV through the little cheddar slivers. I haven’t been able to watch some TV shows we watched together yet, but I do sing along obnoxiously loudly to our favourite songs – Neil Sedaka or Queen – always making sure to use  the excuse that my hollering is in her memory… 

Whilst we think of mum every day, there are certain things we have done to keep her with us. We have our favourite photos framed, Sophie and I have lockets containing her little smile, and Emily commissioned a little set of baby clothes for each of us made out of her old dresses! 

I also got a tattoo of her writing – “Love me x” – which was her sign off in every card she wrote. I love looking down at my arm and seeing her very distinctive (if utterly illegible) writing. I feel like it keeps her by my side every day. 

However, we also wanted to do something more permanent to honour her memory – something that everyone who loved her could be a part of.  

The first thing we did was set up a “Tulip Fund” – so that people could donate to Dorothy House Hospice Care in her memory. Dorothy House is a charity which offered us care, help and support throughout mum’s illness, and I don’t know what we would have done without them. Astonishingly, we raised over £4,000 – and I can hear mum exclaiming from her little cloud – “I CANNOT believe it, on my page?!…….is it a scam?!”*

My sisters and I also arranged to dedicate a bench to her,  including her favourite mummy mantra – “Always look for the good”. Mum always loved reading the little gold plaques on the benches, and now other people can do the same in a beautiful park she spent many special moments in. In fact, someone told my aunts once that they had chosen to sit there because of the beautiful message on her plaque – how lush is that?! It is so special that her little mantras can continue to bring sunshine into the world, even after she is gone. 

So today, let’s remember our special mum with a smile – just as she would have wanted.

*It was not a scam, mum…  

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