Eclectic Blue


Comments Off on Mortality 04 December 2017


I am not surprised that Sir Elton John is in shock following the death of his mother. She was a fine age, 92, that’s for sure and many of us would take that if offered it today, but you are talking about the loss of one of the most important people in your life.

My mum died in 1999. I don’t remember the date, not even the month. My stepfather was too ill to register the death, arrange the funeral and all the rest of it, so I did all that stuff. The last decade or so of her life had not exactly been pleasant for her, fighting as she did with the aftermath of a lifetime of smoking cigarettes. It was smoking that ruined her life, it was smoking that ended it. I knew one day I would get that phone call to say I should come to see her straight away because she was dying but instead the call came to say she was dead. So I know what Sir Elton was going through.

“Is that Richard?” said the owner of the care home where my mum now lived. (No matter now I tried, I could not persuade him to call me Rick.) This had to be serious. He had called me a few times before but never when I was at work. He got straight to the point. “Your mother’s dead.” It wasn’t quite as blunt as that, but I would not have cared if it had been. I have never approved of terms such as she had “passed away”. “Oh my fucking God,” I didn’t say. I mumbled something to the manager and drove to the care home. By the time I arrived, the body had departed. I didn’t expect to be here when I woke up that morning.

How long did the shock last? It ended the moment I called her brother who did not appear to be remotely bothered. He had never once come to visit his sister in the UK so this was hardly a shock. I hated to be the one who had to tell him she was dead and started to cry until I realised that the mourning was all mine. Somehow, everything became clear to me. For the first time in a few hours, I could think straight. I told him that was the end of our relationship and followed it up by writing a letter confirming I was not writing whilst consumed by grief. How very odd. I never cried again. I had lost my mother who had brought me up virtually single handed and yet there was an odd sense of relief alongside the loss. Yes, I wanted her to live forever but my God the pain she suffered from over 20 years that stopped her from evening leaving the house wore me down. Seeing a close relative suffering unbearable pain is not an experience I would recommend.

Sir Elton’s millions won’t make up for his own loss. As we keep saying, no one gets out of here alive and his mum was no exception. And soon, before you know it, you have become the oldest person in the family and your own mortality becomes clearer than ever. My thoughts are with Sir Elton. 92 or not, the absence forever of your mother is something you never really get over.

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