When I had nightmares is was about losing you. I’d wake up sweating after you had fallen off a cliff or just stopped breathing reading your book (Catherine Cookson most likely). Sometimes, because of those dreams I’d just sit there watching you making sure you were still breathing. You were my world, my anchor, my rock.
I was growing up, I know I wasn’t being myself, I know that how I appeared to be was what Dad expected me to be, all the men in the family were real men, top of their sports. They were not like me, I was not like them. I wanted to have that conversation about how I felt different but, I had time, I knew I had time and, well, I was a long while off grown up yet and, things might change, isn’t that what they say? You never really know for sure, not whilst you are young?
Mum, I should have told you, I should have got to know you as an adult and not kept myself your little boy. It was my safe space, my sanctuary to come home to you, things as they always were, even with the upsets of the mid 1980’s you remained my mum.
Only once did I ever feel like I was a grown up with you, that night you sobbed to me about Dad, how you needed me to be strong for you, and I was. It felt amazing to be there for you and yet, I still didn’t commit myself to saying what I should have said. You never knew me and, I suspect, I never really got to know you as a woman either.
You last knew me as the immature young man rushing into a marriage, a kid on the way and making a mess of life. I didn’t think about you then, I didn’t need to, everything was going to be good. You’d have your first grandchild, we would find a way to make that work, you would get to spend some great times together. You would be his rock as you had been mine.
After that horrible morning a great many years ago this week I went back to our home. Your dressing gown was where you left it on the bed, I folded it up not knowing quite what to do with it. I cried. Your brush was in the bathroom with your hair in it, I cried again. So much of you was there except, you. You had been an angel in the shape of my mum and God wanted you back. It released you from all that physical and emotional pain and, for that, I shall always thank him, he did the right thing.
But, mum, I didn’t get to know you. I thought I had more time, I didn’t.
Mum, I am gay, I always have been as long as I can remember. Trying to be straight was so hard for me. Too screwed up to be myself, too afraid to make a leap of faith and trust I’d be held.
I am sorry, I am sure that where you are you see me. I am happy now. Being gay is only one part of me, I am the little boy all grown up. I still and always will need my mum. Thank you for the love you gave to me.
You would have liked Dennis I think, you would love your grandchildren and great grandchildren, they would have love you so much too.
I miss you mum, love you always
Your son, Steven