I woke up last night at 3 a.m. having had a dream in which some impostors had erected a wooden tombstone in her memory in the cemetery, with their own messages and instructions scribbled on it in blue felt pen. They owned her place of rest, and they owned the memories.
In my dream, I had been searching all day for the gravestone and the dream woke me up. There is no gravestone or cemetery; McMum's ashes were scattered at Loch Tummel in Perthshire a few years ago.
I had this dream because yesterday would have been her birthday. I can't remember the exact dates of either of our parents' deaths, but I remember them on their birthdays. After your parents die, you feel rootless for a while. You realise how much your family has been bound together by shared parents, upbringing and family stories, and how your relationship with your siblings has been constructed by your respective relationships with your parents, too. I have reflected on this a lot since McMum died, and on the complexities of my own relationship with her. In this respect, losing parents replaces their physical presence with a type of wisdom that is at the same time enlightening and incredibly sad.
McMum and McDad were particularly good at being grandparents, and I am glad that my Offsprogs had that unconditional love from them.