Dear Mum – 2014

Dear Mum

Well, here we are again. Another year’s gone by and if I’m honest, there’s not all that much that’s changed. You’re still not here and fourteen years later, that still makes me alternate between sad and angry. I didn’t sleep well last night; the wind was lashing the rain against the windows and I could only lie awake thinking of you. This means I’ve woken up feeling a little on the gloomy side. I have to spend a day at work and I’m fairly certain it’ll only take one person to observe that I’m ‘a bit quiet today’ for it all to come out. I’ll try not to, though, there’s a colleague who lost her own mum earlier this year in that same sudden way we lost you. It’s far more raw for her than it is for me and I try, at least, to be considerate.

What has happened this year that’s worthy of note? Well, I’ve had two more books published, including the Plantagenet one I mentioned to you last year, and another Space Marine tale. I’ve decided to take a writing break, though. I essentially wrote four novels back-to-back over a two year period and tying that in with a day job means I was pretty wiped out.

Ben and I went back to LRP this year. I still can’t get over the warm welcome – people’s genuine pleasure and kind words made me a little tearful. It was great to go back without the pressures of trying to please all the people all the time (when it’s a fact that when it comes to LRP folk, you can’t please any of the people any of the time). I had fun.

Jamie took his first GCSE in the summer: Core Science, for which he got an ‘A’ grade. I was pretty proud of him, I can tell you. He has the rest to look forward to in 2015; and he’s received his conditional offer of a place in sixth form to do his A Levels. He has plans to go to University and study biomedical engineering and I believe he will completely do that. He’s that type: sets his mind to something and *bang* achieves it.

He’s sixteen in February. Practically an adult.

I took up a twelve-month secondment which I started in September. I’m hoping wholeheartedly that it becomes permanent, because whilst my previous job was pretty enjoyable, this one is better suited to my skillset. However, it will be what it will be and in the current economic climate, it’s good to have a job at all. I’m grateful for that, and the fact that I can provide a roof over our head and feed us every week.

There’s been some bad stuff this year as well. None of it as bad as this day fourteen years ago: I consider that the benchmark for ‘bad stuff’, but some of it so hard to deal with that I cried for days. I’m still pretty sad over some of those matters, but I think I’m coming out the other side. The short version is that the lessons learned from various things that have happened this year are: I should learn to trust my instincts, I should say how I’m feeling sooner rather than later, and that there will always be people who don’t give a damn about how their behaviour might affect others.

Back to the good: we have good friends in Lincoln and we spend lots of time with them and they spend lots of time with us. I’m starting to think that, once Jamie goes off to University and I’m no longer tied to the North East, I might well start giving thought to a relocation. Again, it will be what it will be – the housing market isn’t exactly a seller’s place just now, but I’ve been in this house for ten years (this week!) and I know that my mortgage statement should be a pleasant surprise this year.

We’ll be putting the Christmas tree up later, the ritual of the last fourteen years that I have come to insist upon. I’ll pop by the supermarket and get mince pies and we have a bottle of mulled wine in the house. Tonight, I will remember you – although I do that all the time anyway – and be grateful for the fact I got to spend so many years with you.

For the first time in a few years, I’m getting a little bit teary as I write this. I think it’s probably my cue to stop and go to work. I will be thinking of you and missing you.

Always love you, mum.


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