My children and I finished watching the show, "Call the Midwife", tonight. Spoiler alert...
On the show, Chummy is a big, awkward nurse from a privileged background who attended boarding school and was never able to please her demanding, high-born mother. She wants nothing more than to have a relationship with "Mater", as she calls her mom, Lady Browne.
Mater is bound by her place in society. There are rules as rigid as boot camp, and Mater is embarrassed by her gangly daughter. She sends her off to school, and spends very little time with her. What time she does spend is in criticism and condemnation.
Lady Browne shows up one day, and we learn she has cancer and very little time left. Not only that, but Pater (Chummy's father) has abandoned Lady Browne, who is now penniless, but not willing to admit it. She spends some time with Chummy and her husband, Peter, and shows a soft side as she cuddles her little grandson.
Tonight's episode was especially poignant for me, as it showed Chummy and Peter ministering to Mater in her dying days. That's all I will say about that... go to Netflix and watch the entire series, NOW.
I sat with my mother as she lay dying, too. We had Doris Day singing in the background as we watched her breathe those terrible breaths, those rattly breaths that tell the nurse to tell the family "It won't be long now."
It's been over 15 years since I lost her, and I still want to pick up the phone, to give her the news, to share the kids' latest accomplishments. I still want to run in from the mailbox clutching an envelope with that familiar writing on it, eager to devour what she's written.
Like Chummy and Mater, my mom and I had differences that went deep. We did not share the same faith, nor the same political views, nor the same world view. She couldn't fathom why I'd want any more than two or three children. She rarely saw our children and wasn't much of a granny to them, as she was still working full time right up until she discovered she had stage four cancer.
I like to think that if she'd lived, she would have taken the time to visit, to come camping with us, to sit by a fire and chat.
But it wasn't to be.
No matter our differences, I loved my mother.
Happy Birthday, Mater.