Saturday, 19 February 2011

Hydrangeas, my mum, and me

The Hydrangea, often associated with elderly people, is my favourite flower, and so I was delighted to discover a big Hydrangea bush in the garden of our holiday cottage last September. I made Betty stand in front of it for a good fifteen minutes whilst I took hundreds of photos. I'm not sure what I was trying to capture; maybe moments from my childhood, a time when there were no demands, no unbearable feelings of angst, no responsibility, no nothing, apart from being a happy, carefree little girl being well looked after by her doting mother.

We used to have a Hydrangea bush in our garden when I was little. I used to love looking at it with its massive pink and blue flower heads all bunched together - so striking and beautiful. I would pick the petals and create fairyland.

Now, whenever I see a Hydrangea I am catapulted right back to when I was a child and I see my mum, probably the age I am now, standing in front of the flower hugging a mug of coffee, and smiling and looking pretty, with the sun shining in her hair. This memory makes me feel warm, but also desperately sad. Warm, because they were happy times, and sad because those times have well and truly gone. I have lost my mum, as she was then. She no longer looks after me. It is now me who looks after her. To watch her suffering is horrendous, and I feel utterly helpless, and angry. I want her to be how she was; just the simple things like walking, cooking, driving, being happy.

I don't talk about what is happening with my mum very much at all (she has progressive MS) because I can't, it is too painful. I can barely bring myself to even say the word. She says that the one thing that keeps her going and brings her joy, is her beautiful adoring granddaughters.  I just wish she could share in the joy wholeheartedly.

Since discovering the Hydrangea in the holiday cottage garden, we then saw the flower absolutely everywhere, whilst driving around Pembrokeshire. And in all sorts of vibrant shades of pinks, purples, and maroons, colours I had never seen before. I have yet to see the exact same pale blue and pink version of my mum's garden all those years ago - so perfect and beautiful and unique.

14 comments:

TheMadHouse said...

Oh my dear, this post brought so many tears to my eyes. I wish the world was a kinder place. I wish we still had outs mums and I wish I could hug you and tell you it will all be OK, but it wont.

But you will survive, through all the heartache and pain, you will come through it stronger and you will hold your children and you will watch them sleep and remember the happy times. Those times when you felt safe, when you lived without the feeling in your tummy, that feeling of apprehensive, when you lived in the moment without the fear of what the future might bring.

Oneday you will have grandchildren and they too will bring you so much joy as they do your mum and they did mine, so as long as there are woman there will be love, joy and compasion.

Iota said...

I'm sorry to hear about your mum. Think how much you give her, though, you and her granddaughters.

Lucia said...

You don't know me, but I'm sending you hugs anyway. x

nappy valley girl said...

So sorry to hear about your mum Elsie. I am glad she can get find comfort in her grandchildren.

I also love blue hydrangeas- there's one in the garden of where we live now and it too reminds me of my childhood. The house I lived in as a very small child had beautiful hydrangea bushes.

Mrs Scruff said...

the smell of hydrangeas has to be the sweetest smell of all. just beautiful x

Laid-back Mum said...

Sorry to hear about your mum, you don't know me but I follow your blog and feel as if I know you!

My thoughts are with you.

Emma x

Claire Bennett said...

So sorry to hear about your lovely mum but thanks for adding such a thought provoking post. I often look at my own children and wonder what things will remind them of their childhoods when they are older. It is often the little things that keep the memories alive x

Irene said...

Ah those bits and pieces that pop out of the memory and become beautiful icons of loved places, peoples and times. I sometimes like to think of this process as a band aid. It doesn't heal but breds healing and comfort.
Be blessed.
Oh, and I do LOVE hydrangeas!

Louise said...

A beautiful post which has bought tears in my eyes! I am so pleased that her wonderful grand daughters continue to bring your Mum such joy. Take Care

Sparx said...

Elsie - get a hydrangea for your own garden; I'm trying to grow one in mine, I love them too.

Very sorry about your Mum; I'm glad she gets enjoyment from the girls. A good friend of mine has MS (not progressive, I don't think). She's only had 2 bouts since we've known her but we all know it's hanging over her. How dreadful - lots of love.

lauren said...

I'm so sorry about your mum. It's sad who awful things can happen to good people:( I don't know what I would do if my mum got ill so I can sympathies with you. Sending hugs.

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Beccers said...

hugs xxxx

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Really sad. Take lots of photos of your Mum and lots of pix with her and her lovely granddaughters. Life is unbelievably crap sometimes... xxxxx