This is a very hard post to write. Its a post about love. No not the romantic kind.
I want to tell you this story, 30 years ago I met my husband and with him came a big family.
The matriarch Tatiana, she a true matriarch, a true Russian babushka and straight away she told me she disapproved of my ways… I was a kid really, I was cheeky and very playful and she wasn’t impressed. She let me know it, my skirts were way too short, my bubbly nature too annoying… I was respectful and bit my tongue she was after all the matriarch and very respected.
The years flew by Tatiana would still criticise me as soon as she saw me, ” you dyed your hair Mira she would say, at the hairdresser why do you spoil your hair? Why are you wasting your money on this?” She would ask.
I resigned to the fact that I wasn’t her cup of tea. When I was pregnant Tatiana would rock up at my place and start cleaning, washing dishes, organising my cupboards, at first I got offended and protested, then I just thought ‘knock yourself out’ and let her do it. When I had my first born she would come and say ‘ give me the baby, go have a shower and a little sleep’ she would come every second day, for a few hours she would look after my baby Chris and clean and cook.
I was grateful, though she would still critique me all the time, then when I had my second baby and launched my business at the same time she would still come over and baby sit and look after the house, I was crazy busy between two little kids and a new business. I relied on her consistent presence.
I loved to travel and she disapproved of that, ‘ waste on money and waste of time she would say ‘ fancy travelling with the babies how silly’ ‘ you waste money you should be saving on travel’ she would say, I let her criticise me but I traveled anyway, she adored my kids and didn’t have any of her own. She felt she had a say in how they should be raised and I didn’t argue too much… fast forward 27 years I am in Italy for 6 weeks in 2015 gallivanting around the gorgeous country with my kids much to her dissatisfaction.
When we got back she was in hospital, cancer. Melanoma that has gone too far.
She held my hand and said ‘ I love you Mira’ I hugged her it never occurred to me that she loves me until that moment. Then it was clear, decades of service to me and my children is how she shows love. I think I always knew I loved her because I bit my tongue all the time and I am not one to bite my tongue. She was given 6 months, but she went on experimental treatment and was really well for 2 years, and then in a few days she was gone.
Tatiana was not University educated, she was not a business woman in fact she use to work in a modest job in a nursing home until she retired. When she passed I realised that she hadn’t told many people she was unwell those past 2 years,we spent a lot of time with her and you know I loved her so so so much I will miss her criticising me and telling me everything I did was wrong:) I REALLY will.
We were very different women. We saw the world very differently, and we rarely saw eye to eye. But I made her laugh when she really didn’t want to and she disbursed wise advice that I didn’t really want to hear. The point is, I am where I am partly because of her support of me and my kids – via endless babysitting cleaning my kitchen and my house, and just being there. I never asked her she always volunteered.
When she passed away at 83 she left a huge gap in my life, you see love comes in many shapes and sizes and people who have your interests at heart are not always your cheering fan club, the people who love you act in your best interest and support you on your way, in their own way.
I am in mourning right now, I cant believe how much I will miss this wonderful woman.