We got Tiffin when I turned 15, two years before I (the youngest) left home for College, and she was the dog who was Mother’s constant companion during the ’empty nest’ years.
The love that they shared blazes out at me as I look at this particular photograph but more than anything the photograph evokes memories of Mother’s ability to love in a soft, gentle, humourous, witty, empathetic, interested way.
She was a listener and was genuinely interested in hearing about friends of ours that she was never necessarily ever going to meet.
Our relationship was remarkably strong and we chatted endlessly and went all sorts of places together over the years. One of the hardest things to cope with after she died was not having our morning chats down in her house and our nightly chats on the phone at 8pm. We talked about absolutely everything.
I reckon I was absolutely blessed to have such a maternal presence in my life up to my early 50s. The more I learn about life, the more I realise that mother/daughter relationships are certainly not guaranteed to work out.
Yes, I miss her but I’m so glad that she didn’t have to endure the heartbreak of living without Father. In July 2009, just a couple of months after she had died, I didn’t see things quite like this. I just wanted her to be at the end of the phone or down in the house with her welcoming smile.
But, it wouldn’t have worked out. I know now that it wouldn’t. I also know that she is fully with me in spirit and there at my shoulder as I do everyday things like deadhead the roses, pet puppy Stan, go for walks in the woods, go looking for the new moon, spit superstitiously when I see a single magpie, graze on raspberries in the garden, think in poetry, go for stolen swims and treasure the ‘Tramore air.’
The Lady Moss lay under the moon
Silver from side to side.