“She was very kind, your mum.”
So said your friend, Denise, nine years ago today after I had to leave the house for a bit. It was weird in there. Dad was exhausted, my brother had gone home to get some sleep and I was sitting there on the sofa staring at the empty chair where you should have been sitting. I had to get out for a bit.
“She never had a bad word to say about anybody. She was ever so generous.”
This year has been different. This year, the pain has been a lot less. I still miss you, you daft old baggage, of course I do – it just doesn’t sting so much. It’s no longer bitter anger at a world that took you away from me, it’s now more quiet regret.
Plus, this year has been… interesting. A lot of things that we used to talk about have sort of started to come to fruition in strange ways. Faction command, would you believe… I’ve got the proofreading for the Black Library thing going on, I’ve made friends with quite a few people who have influenced me hugely in my writing and it’s all been very cathartic. The regular monthly game down at the Evillest of Refs place smacks suspiciously of having an almost-social life, and now that Jamie’s joining in too, it’s even better.
Speaking of Jamie, mum, you’ll be proud to know that in his pre-SATs tests, he’s scored an overall 5a, which as I understand it, is as good a score as you can attain at primary level. He’ll start secondary school in September. He’ll go places, that boy, I’m telling you. I know you’d be proud of him, because I am, and as we’ve established on more than one occasion, I’m very much who you were.
“She loved you all very much indeed.”
I don’t remember much about the conversation I had with Denise on the 10th December 2000. I remember that it helped my aching soul immensely – and those three things have always stuck in my mind as summarising you beautifully.
Kind, generous, loving.
Moving into the tenth year of your absence and you’re still watching over me, making sure me and my family are good and making every attempt to cramp my style wherever possible.
The local radio station played ‘Search For the Hero’ on my request. This makes them alright in my book, even if nearly all the presenters have now changed their names by deed poll to ‘Vote Joe’ in anticipation of this weekend’s X-Factor final. Mum, you’d laugh at that one, I know.
So… until next year.
All my love,