Thirteen, they say, is unlucky for some. In this instance, the number corresponds to the number of years since you died. I’ve written to you every December 10th since and the Christmas tree always goes up on this day. It’s my own way of marking what, to me, is such an important day in the calendar.
You’d think after thirteen years I’d have run out of things to talk about and I suppose to a point, the healing process has ensured that I no longer wait for midnight to write this letter, or no longer get so emotional whilst writing it. For a while, that worried me. I worried that maybe I didn’t care any more. But I know that’s not true. Of course I care. Not a day goes by when I don’t miss you, that I don’t wish you were still here. I even still have those slightly mad moments when I go to pick up the phone to ring you and tell you about something, only to remember that you won’t be there.
Time is a great healer, they say (and I am still to find out who ‘they’ are) and that is true. The sting, the pain… they have lessened year on year. The ache of loss remains and the mum-shaped hole in my world that can never be filled. But I smile more when I talk about you now. I still occasionally get a little teared up because you know. Contrary to popular belief, I’m only human.
What’s new this year, then? Well, Dad and his bees for one. I can’t for the life of me wonder what you would have made of him getting his apiary. Then the next one. Then the next one. And the fourth. The fourth is made of polystyrene. Jamie calls it ‘modern city bee block as opposed to the hillbilly bees in their wooden shacks’. Because he comes out with little gems like that all the time. Within five minutes of meeting the bees, I got my first sting. Then they seemed to lose all interest in me. I have it on good authority that they chased Stephen up and down the allotment though. Jamie’s fascinated by the whole bee thing: when he stayed with Dad during the summer holidays, he was well into it all.
On the topic of Jamie, at some point this year, he grew taller than me and he’s still going upwards. He’s almost as tall as his dad and I reckon will still keep going. I know I joke that he was born at the age of 37, but he really has grown up this last year. No longer a little boy; now he’s a young man. He is fifteen in February and is still a great kid. He has his moments, sure – but when I think about how vile I was to you and Dad when I was a teenager, I count my blessings!
The first year in my new job has gone really well – it’s been good for me. So much stress has come off my shoulders. I mean, I still have stress, but it’s a different kind and entirely more manageable. The writing thing has also gone well – edits to one novel are done and I’m about 85% done on a new story that finally became public yesterday. You’d enjoy that one, I think, you were the one who gave me my love of the Plantaganets after all!
Well, I have a training session to attend this morning, so I’d better get this cup of coffee down and reply to some emails. Life, as they say, goes on. But you will be in my thoughts all day and tonight, when I decorate my tree and drink my mulled wine, I’ll light a candle and remember everything that was wonderful about having you as my mother.
You know, all of it.
Miss you. And I love you. Always.