There are some things in life you just don’t want to do, like bump into an ex when you’re wearing your jogging pants, no make up and unwashed hair, pay a huge-ass tax bill, or give your dying mumma a strip wash.
Yet I have done all bloody three.
The last one happened last Friday. My mumma has end stage pulmonary fibrosis which is fancy medical speak for ‘rubbish lungs that don’t want to work anymore’. I’ve written a little bit about our relationship here, and while I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, this is a big part o’ my life right now, and I work with women to tell and share their stories and that includes the fuck ups, the messy real bits, the doing shit you thought would make your entire world cave in – like giving your mumma a wash.
When I was a kid, my mumma used to give me a strip wash in front of the fire while Bullseye was on the TV. (If you are under 25 or of non UK-ness, Bullseye is a cheesy 80′s TV show where people threw darts to win a caravan or a boat. Fo’ real.) It’s a ritual that I adored and looked forward to. I remember the lick of warmth from the log fire on the back of my legs as my mumma would start with my face, and end with, as many of you who’ll have read SASSY now know, what my mumma lovingly referred to as my mini haha – yep, her unique flowery terminology for my vagina. Jeez Louise.
I’ve made no secret to any one who will listen, that caring for my mumma in any kind o’ way freaks the fuck out o’ me, but Friday when my mumma’s carer didn’t arrive, I found my self running a bowl of hot water, filling it with bubbles, just as she’d done for me as a kid, and sponging her down.
There ain’t nothing more hunbling than that.
We laughed, we cried and and in that beautiful act, we connected on a level we’d never experienced before. We cut through all the years of hurt and pain we’d caused one another, and just let our hearts touch.
My mumma, anxious that her daughter shouldn’t have to wash her, surrendered.
Me, thinking I wasn’t capable, that I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t want to, surrendered.
We surrendered to our hearts and let them become the strong and beat-y compass for our beautiful interaction together.
This is the most gentle yet powerful kind o’ strength and we ALL have it. Even when we don’t think we have it. In fact, especially when we don’t think we have it.
Bad things do, and will happen in our lives, I DID bump into my ex looking like a skank, I DID fuck up my accounts and actually cried myself to sleep thinking I’d go to prison, my mumma IS dying, but despite all o’ that, my world didn’t end, the sky didn’t cave in. I can laugh about the ex situ because what he thinks of me is none of my business, I didn’t go to prison and have now got me a kick-ass accountant and while my mumma’s disease sucks and the fact that she’s dying sucks, some of our most beautiful moments together have happened since she’s been diagnosed and I am collecting her lessons and teachings in my heart for the times when I need my mumma and she’s not here to ask.
We are stronger than we know.
Look to your life and find the moments when you thought you just weren’t strong enough. Now find the proof that you absolutely freakin’ were…It’ll be there. I promise. Then, like I just have, give yourself a hug for being made o’ awesome.