Life has a way of tripping you up at pretty much every corner. Last weekend we cremented my step mum who sadly passed away at the end of October. In the weeks following her passing, I’ve gone through most of the stages of grief. What I least expected was to be so angry.
One day at work, I became angry over something as simple as installing an SSL certificate (though the situation was a lot more complicated than that – let’s say I despise Symantec for causing such grief over the Google certificate distrust issue). Anyway, I smashed my (own) Cosair keyboard which, thankfully, because the keys are replaceable, fell out. But I just thought to myself at the time is that is this really worth it? Is anything worth it? When I calmed down and had time to think things through, the answer was ‘yes’, though I’m finding technology is becoming increasingly more disruptive than it has ever been in my life. But was that really the cause? No.
There was another incident – fairly recently – where I was queing up at the ticket machines at Woking station when an older gentlemen came in from the side and looked to be pushing in. He then pushed past me and stood behind a ticket machine which somebody was using. There was a single queue. I tried to tell him that the queue was back behind me, and as he returned, he told me that I had pushed in. I practically screamed at him that wasn’t the case and that I had been patiently standing behind the people in front of me. It is very unlike me to lose my temper like that in public. This was AFTER the funeral – second day at work. What set it off, I don’t know, but I was certainly ashamed afterwards with myself.
When I lost my biological mum back in February 2000, I became quite withdrawn initially. There wasn’t any anger. I went away for a week to clear my head and decided there and then that I would try to live my life to the fullest. I went on a trip across the United States – starting from New York and ending up in Las Vegas, via coach full of Dutch tourists. As bizzare as it was, it was a fantastic trip. I’m currently looking to digitise the photos I took and will put them up here when done.
Shortly after the trip, I met my wife. We got married in 2001 and went on many adventures – travelling all over the world (we honeymooned in Bora Bora and New Zealand, travelled to China multiple times, spent time in Russia, Poland, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Croatia, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, United States and the Ukraine) , moving three times, and generally trying to live the best life possible. Alas, it was not to be and we divorced in 2013. But we remain good friends.
Subsequent liasons have ultimately failed. I guess I’m not suited to this dating malarky. Though I have tried to keep travelling – in 2014 I spent a week in York, 2015 I went to London before spending two weeks in the United States and Canada thanks to a friend who I met online, though alas, I am no longer in contact with her. In 2016 I went to Edinburgh for a week and fell in love with the place. In 2017 I returned to Edinburgh for 9 days, then spent 2 weeks on a P&O cruise leaving Southampton and visiting various points in Norway, Iceland and Dubin before returning to Southampton again. But it’d be lovely to do all this with somebody – being a single traveller had advantages, sure, but it was always better when you had somebody to share it with.
I’ve not gone very far in 2018 – having bought the MacBook Pro, the new iPhone, iPad Pro and Apple Watch I’ve not had much cash to spend on travelling. I aim to do something in 2019. Work is quite stressful these days with an on-call, out-of-hours rota once every two weeks. While I work one day a week at home, the rest of the time is spent in commuting hell with South Western Railway, Network Rail and Arriva. My neighbours dogs are noisy fellows, especially on some evenings when they go out and leave them behind. Most recently I was woken at 3:15am when the neighbours decided to have an all night party. The joys of living in a semi-detached cottage that dates back to the turn of the 20th century. Fun!
But with my step mum’s passing, it’s brought about the importance of living life to the full. It’s far too short to miss out on opportunities such as travelling and seeing the world. And particularly spending it with somebody you love. I’m not sure how that side of things is going to work out, but I do know that I want to travel more before I’m too old (and broke) to do so. My biological mum loved all things Egypt, so when I had the opportunity of going, I felt as if she were there with me – exploring the Valley of the Kings and the great pyramid of Keops. I want to do the same for Linda – make her a part of my travels, as she will undoubtedly travel with my sister and brother in their lives.
In my tribute to my step mum, I unashamedly nicked the following quote from the first episode of season 11 of Doctor Who. When the Doctor is asked about her family, she replies that they’re gone, but..
I carry them with me. What they would have thought, said and done. I make them a part of who I am, so even though they are gone from the world, they are never gone from me.– Doctor Who, episode 1, season 11
That;s how I truly feel about both my mothers. There are always about. I think about them constantly, and how they would react to certain situations I find myself in. We are never truly gone – as long as we remember our loved ones.