It is March 30th 2014 – Mother’s Day is here again.
As many of you readers understand, Mother’s Day without a Mum is one of the worst milestones of them all. Birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries are bad (very bad), but this one involves a marketing frenzy for the whole month leading up to it. Cheers for that.
Shops are overflowing with cards and posters with the word, ‘Mum’ or ‘Mother’ everywhere you look and with it comes the first blow – a kick to your stomach. You take a sharp intake of breath and decide not to throw something at the window display. Then come the emails, ‘Treat your Mum’, ‘Make every day Mother’s Day’ – which attack you like punches to the face, leaving you feeling weaker with every one. A left hook hits you out of nowhere as some even personalise the message, ‘Rachael, show Mum some love on this Mother’s Day’. SHUT UP. As soon as you get up from that knock out, you shudder as you realise that on Mothering Sunday, if you choose to keep busy and get out and about you will be surrounded by family outings. Great.
It is a very, very sad day – another brutal reminder and, as I described in the book, probably a very likely time for that ‘uncontrollable storm of grief’ to hit you again. Yeh, we all know that being angry and bitter doesn’t help anyone. But Mum told me to let myself feel whatever I feel. And today, I feel very p*ssed off. And I miss her. And that is just how it is.
I do feel lucky though, once again, to have 60 Postcards as my beautiful distraction to help me through days like this – with milestones as one of the main reasons I started this project. As this blog began on Mother’s Day last year – I have decided to do a recap post with a timeline of events from that trip to Paris until now…..
DEC 2012 – THE PARIS TRIP
1 Tribute, 1 City, 4 Days, 11 friends, 60 Postcards.
It all started in Paris in December 2012, ten months after I had lost my mum to bowel cancer. She was 59 years old, she had lived a happy and healthy life and then sixteen days was all it took from the diagnosis to the day we lost her. My world fell apart, as did my heart, and it was as her 60th Birthday approached that I thought about trying to do something a little different to deal with my grief and the looming milestones. I scattered 60 Postcards around the City of Love in her memory – one for every year of her life – and I left a message on about why I was there, in remembrance of Mum, leaving my email address on the bottom in case anyone was to find one. I didn’t think anyone would. Surely not? But, they did. Bonkers.
MAR 2013 – THE BLOG
Three months after my trip was when I finally plucked up the courage to start-up the blog. Starting a blog shouldn’t have been that daunting really, but I wanted it to be a very honest journal and so I knew that I would be talking about just why the project began. I would be talking about ‘grief’. Sounds so miserable doesn’t it. I think if anyone had told me to check out a blog which covers the topic of grief here and there I would have told them (politely) to, ‘Jog on’. But I hope I have been able to provide a little more light through the postcard magic and the incredible people who I am meeting along the way, and continue to with every week.
APR 2013 – NYC
Not long after the set up of the blog, I headed to NYC with my friend Caroline to continue the project. It was all thanks to a girl who found one of my postcards in Paris – she took it back to NYC and I thought it was only right that I followed my postcard and left 60 around that city too. Before long Paris, NYC and London were all linked up through a series of serendipitous events. I have never really told the full story of NYC. I will do one day, though. And I hope to head back out there very soon!
SEP 2013 – THE DEAL
When Simon & Schuster offered me a book deal, I totally freaked out at first. My reaction was an odd one. I cried a lot. I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing and all I wanted to do was speak to my main advisor – Mum. Still, after great chats with my Dad and sisters, Sarah and Hannah, I decided that there was no way I could miss out on this opportunity. And so I signed on the dotted line, and signed away my social life for a few months to write the book!
FEB 2014 – THE BOOK RELEASE
Writing the book was a very steep learning curve and once that was done, I was oh-so-curious about the publicity side of things. I decided not to prepare for any of the radio, TV or paper/mag interviews, which probably sounds a little ridiculous. But, I know this project inside out and thought best to give genuine answers on the spot.
MAR 2014 – NOW….
And now it is Mother’s Day again. Blimey – what a year it has been.
I am very keen to do a blog/book reader meet soon. It would be an informal event and I would hold it somewhere for a few hours for people to drop in, have a coffee and a chat. I want to hear about you – your stories, projects, inspirations and I want you to be involved in my plans and ideas for the next stage for 60 Postcards. Now, where to hold the meet! I am beginning to look (central London) and if anyone has any ideas for spaces then please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org!
You see, after reading this back – I really do feel a little less p*ssed off now. Mum would love this, she really would. I will be scattering a few postcards as I go today to wish others a happy Mother’s Day. And then I will be meeting Caroline, Jack, Emily and Stuart for a drink. If you have read the book then you will know exactly who those people are and how this couldn’t be a better day to catch up with them.
Wishing all the Mums a lovely day and to those missing theirs, I hope you get through it OK.
Thinking of you all.