Today was a bad day, inside. Maybe it was all the Otis Redding I was listening too, bringing up all kind of emotions. I thought about my mum all day. It’s her birthday on the 20th March, this Sunday. We are going to spread her ashes that day on a spot she loved on Hampstead Heath. The Heath, for me and many of her friends, remains us of her. She spent so many days of her life up there, walking various dogs, chatting to friends, coffees in the cafe. I would like to put her ashes next to the spot where she put some of her good friend’s, who also died from cancer. They can keep each other company, and it will give my brother & I a nice private spot to visit.
This ‘moving-on’ phase is really difficult. The ashes are the final trace of my mum, and I really want to put them somewhere to rest but it feels like another funeral, and all the sadness that comes with it. I’m not really looking forward to it. I imagine it is a bit of closure, what ever that is, if you even ever get that after your mum has died in such a way. I suppose I will see after Sunday. It was 5 months the other day, it feels more like 5 weeks.
When I got back from America I moved back into my mum’s house just while I look for a flat. It’s been harder being in the house this time, everywhere is a reminded of what happened, all the bad memories are in every room. I don’t know why I do not remember the good ones, perhaps the bad ones are more prominent. I still haven’t cleared out her room. I keep saying I’m too busy, I’ll do it later, but I know that is not the reason. I just wish she would come home. The other day, my brother came in through the front door, and called hello to me just like my mum would always do every time she came in, and for that split second I thought it was her, it sounded just like her. It was horrible, because for that split second this had all been some horrible dream and she was alive and everything was going to be ok, and then your rational brain confirms you are mistaken. It really hurt. I feel this massive hole now much more than before. Before was all the manic stuff that happens after someone dies, now this is the life without her, and it’s miserable.
But on a more positive note, I have started my next project about my mum. I am doing a book on her life and cooking history. She was truly an amazing chef, and was a leading figure of the British restaurant revolution in the 80’s and 90’s. All the major figures in British cooking of that time were either trained by her or worked alongside her in some capacity. I am asking many of these chef’s to contribute recipes for the book. I will use images of food interwoven throughout the book, in a similar way to how I used the flowers in my last project Tulip. This will be a much more positive book to do for me. She always wanted to do her own cookbook, so now I can do it for her. The journey through her life will be fascinating, she lived so many different lives. I look forward to it. I have had not much motivation since returning to London, being in US was a break from all this hurt, not that I was trying to run away because believe me there is no where you can go to get away from it, but it was a holiday in many senses of the word. Now it’s back to reality, back to this life without her. Though it feels good to have got the ball rolling with this new project. The response from the chef’s has been great, and I think this book could be really good, a lovely testament to a great woman.