Buzzing traffic noise and a softly snoring dog woke me this morning and Mum’s voice was saying “it’s so beautifully sunny, get out there and enjoy it. Do you know that Bognor is the sunniest place in England?”. She also told me that she was peaceful and that tears are a waste of water. She was humming Danny Boy and that twinkle in her eye told me that she was about to start a new adventure somewhere very different, with new friends and out of pain. I know her voice will always be with me and a precious friend told me that it will continue to be with me whenever I think of her and whenever I need to take a new perspective on life. My question will always be from now on “What would Mum do? What would Mum say?” And I know that the answers will always be left-field, incredibly insightful and will make me laugh. I’ll also be giggling through shielded eyes, imagining her fearless pursuit of things she simply wanted to do – no rules, no protocol and no motive apart from love and a fascination with the world around her. It’s what she’s always done and I have no doubt that her wonder-filled wisdom and wacky sense of what’s important will see us through. And I’ll always feel her hand in mine, squeezing me so tight it made her laugh at my comedy pain face.

My precious Mum’s life is going to mean something and my dream of creating a platform for people to discuss growing up with a parent with mental health issues feels closer than ever now. I’ve asked Mum what she thinks about that and her answer is that she finds the whole thing hilarious, because who would take any notice of what she did in life? I’ve told her that over five thousand people are interested and they read about our love story every couple of weeks. She would have found that preposterous and of course she’d admonish me for going on the web – “spiders live in those, Sonia darling” (her actual words about ten years ago). As I was taking my brother back to the station for his return journey to London this morning I asked him what he thought she would be saying to us now. “Have a safe journey and get some proper sleep – I’m alright, my precious children, I’m alright”.

Mum – I’m looking forward to our future conversations and your life will continue to mean a lot to very many people who loved and knew you – and to many who continue to laugh at your antics and share their own stories.

I love you so much – it’s never going to be “loved” it’s always going to be love – the present – existing in the here and now. I know you’ll be keeping an eye on us and I look forward to your answers whenever I ask “What would Mum say?” Right now I reckon it would be “I’ve told you once already – get some sunshine on your skin, Sonia darling”.

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