She went the day after. The day after her daughter died of a heart attack. Their relationship had been rocky. It has been written about, made into a film. It was common knowledge. And the daughter’s chaos. That too. So young. Only sixty. Feisty. Though another actress said in an interview how she hated that word. Volatile, perhaps is better. Who knows? I don’t. Just unhappy, perhaps. A car crash. This is not about judgement, but sadness. Compassion too. For both. We choose our parents some say. Though many would poo poo such a notion. Do we choose our children too? The mother died of a stroke. I remember that word. My grandfather. He’s had a stroke, they said. I didn’t know what it was. Such a nice word. We stroke dogs, people we love. A stroke. She died of a stroke, her son said. The shock of losing her daughter was too much. Too much.

I think of losing him everyday. I cannot help it. I try to make it a positive, an energetic, moment-filling thing. Make the best of him. Cherish him. It is unending this love. And yet.

It was her birthday the other day. She is gone now so the birthday is defunct. A red-letter day no longer red. No longer read. My missing her is passing. It passes. She is gone, no more. Little remains. Even the symbols lose their power. Her children remain, that is so. And I see her in all of them, in all of us. In myself.

She died the day after. Mother-daughter. Mother-daughter. Sometimes it is just too much to bear.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.