Today is the third anniversary of my Mum's death in 2009. I am well past the sorrowful stage now, but I still don't fully understand our pre-transition relationship, and no doubt I'll be pondering that for a long time ahead. Perhaps some insight will eventually come - or not. It may not matter. But I will always want to mark this kind of event with at least a brief mention. After all, blogs are essentially diaries, and diaries contain notes on things past, as well as things to come.
Both my parents were very important to me. I feel now that I always had more rapport with Dad, and that my relationship with him was consciously simpler. My interaction with Mum was less direct, more careful, possibly more confused. And yet I loved her, and had many good moments with her. The occasions I liked best were when it was just her and me, taking a country walk somewhere. She loved walking; and when my parents lived in Liphook, not far from beautiful places such as the Frensham Commons, or Waggoners Wells, or the Devils Punch Bowl at Hindhead, there was ample scope for memorable walks in wonderful surroundings. Often in the keen air of early spring or late autumn. So despite the rather messy end of our relationship - she died of cancer, sleepy with morphine, unaccepting of myself as Lucy, the topic shelved and never discussed again before she died - I have, overriding this, many fond remembrances.
But not of any especial closeness, certainly not of hugs and kisses. Neither Mum nor Dad were physically or emotionally expressive. Perhaps that was down to their upbringing, generation, and notions of what was proper behaviour. I remember Mum being scornful of another family we knew, who tended to weep and wail at every tragedy. My parents were not cold: indeed they were very friendly people, often at the centre of local social events, and well-regarded. But the 'stiff upper lip' idea, especially the notion of not 'giving in to emotion' obviously affected me, and made it difficult for me to be impulsively warm. I never learned how. We did not embrace; and that is possibly why I still find it so hard to make skin-on-skin contact with anyone. But they also imbued me with standards of head-over-heart self-reliance (and maybe self-protection and assertiveness) that I have reason to be thankful for.
As I said, Mum couldn't cope with the idea that I had always been a girl waiting to get out. Had she lived, I wonder what she would now make of her child. Here I am, having Sunday Lunch last weekend at a Brighton pub called The Fat Georges - referring to the four King Georges, and especially George IV:
My meal looks enormous, but that was the effect of the wide-angle lens. Honest.
Supposing it had instead been a lunch with Mum and Dad? They'd see me across the table, looking like this. What would they think? Would they say to themselves, at the very least, 'Well it's turned out for the best, after all.' Of course, I can never know. But I'd like to imagine that they would have achieved acceptance by now.
They would have seen me in many other situations too. I was always happy to go out with them. Yesterday I went to visit my cousin R--- in Kent, and here I am with one of R---'s little Yorkie dogs on my lap. It's her oldest Yorkie, now aged 15, with one eye lost, but her favourite. This little creature is also called Lucy, so it's The Two Lucys:
Surely Mum would now see the daughter that had been hidden inside her 'son'?
Perhaps it's best left as an open question. It can never be answered.