Remembering My Mum, Alison Dukes
Hi guys… it’s safe to say it’s been a long time since I last wrote a blog so I might be a bit rusty. My sharp wit and cutting satire will be even worse than usual, I’m sorry. In light of this fact, I’ve taken the tough decision to not make any such observations or ribs. Well, thank God then that nothing has happened in the world of any consequence that could shape the future of the world for decades to come…am I right?
But unfortunately, I have a better reason – rather selfishly maybe- then the possible start of World War III, so this blog will have a more serious, somber, tone. As you have probably guessed from the title, my Mum unfortunately passed away on the 4th of February 2022 at 64.
It’s taken me about a month to put the many, many thoughts that have been going through my head since my Mum passed away. It is usually at night, when I wake up suddenly at 2 or maybe 3am, and the chapter of the audiobook I listen to send me to sleep has finished. (Currently listening to The Secret History and it might be better than The Goldfinch. Two fantastic books by Donna Tart, the Author). The silence grows louder and louder and with that I foolishly try to unpack, unscramble and grasp the terrible idea that I’ll never see or talk to my Mum again. That’s what the first couple of weeks were like. Thankfully, the strong family bond my Mum helped build and flourish throughout her life came together to help mourn Mum, as well as some of the best people who I know, who I’m privileged enough to be able to call friends. Then over the next week during the night just before twilight has broken, I started to think about the many, many amazing things my Mum, did, is, was, and everything in-between.
Like the fact Mum was bloody cool! From her young punk days, going to The Cure, The Clash or Susie and the Banshee concerts, even appearing in an Adam and the Ants video! (Pause around the 3:08 mark). To Mum’s impeccable fashion sense, looking like the coolest person in the room. Most of the time I would just let her pick out my outfit for me because I knew I’d always look my best. Also, I was just plain lazy sometimes. Even in the hospital days before the big operation where, let’s be honest, people don’t look their best, my dad said when he returned home from visiting her that one of the nurses said my Mum looked like Elizabeth Taylor. Says it all really. So yeah, I had a really cool Mum. Way cooler than I’ll ever be.
The one thought, feeling, pictures in my mind during these nights that keep rising to the top though is how proud she was of me, my brother and sister – her children.
She would constantly tell me how proud she was of me and the work I’ve done with PACE, helping disabled people through sport. She would often cause me to roll my eyes when she would say the dreaded phrase “you’re an inspiration”. I knew though, she meant it. Well, I don’t care how cheesy or corny it is but Mum will always be an inspiration to me and I’ll try and continue to make her proud.
I have always had a weird relationship with grief, possibly as a by-product of being disabled and having disabled friends, people who I’ve loved, who are sadly not here anymore. I’ve grown detached, numb to the grief. I’ve essentially built a wall around myself. Sometimes I make a small hole in this metaphorical wall when I listen to music – and music has been an important tool in the process for me. Partly because the last thing Mum and I did together was go to a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds concert at the Royal Albert Hall. It was a magical evening, and Nick Cave is a genius who is no stranger to loss himself after his son died in an accident and his grief is reflected in his music. I’m not sure how my grief will manifest, if ever.
Writing this blog has helped – I now feel like there has been one less knot untied in my chest and I hope in the coming months, years those knots keep untying and the weight in my chest is finally lifted. Until then, like I said earlier I’ll try and continue to make Mum proud in everything I do. Love you Mum. Xx