Mum. An enormous word. For a tiny set of letters.


LB eventually understood I was his ‘mum’ and ran with it. As he tried to make some sense of a sometimes challenging world. He used the word ‘mum’ more any other (even the old favourites like buses, Eddie Stobart, septic tanks…) For 13-ish of his 18 years (he arrived late to speech but made up for it), the word ‘mum’ consistently prefaced sentences when I was anywhere near striking distance. ‘Mum…Mum?’ ‘Mum?‘ There could be twenty ‘mums’ before anything else was said.

It drove me to distraction at times.

Now I ain’t claiming any special status, or a ‘super-mum’ identity. I was no super-mum. Quite the contrary. Particularly when it came to domestic type duties. Cough. Cough. And I could go away without him missing me. He was more than happy hanging out with Rich and the other kids.  But I was his mum. His constant.

A constant in a life that became increasingly bewildering, confusing and incomprehensible.

Mum. Someone he could rely on. The ‘just you and me Mum’ outings. The foyer incident. The re-assurer, after he learned about his diagnosis of a chromosome abnormality and then later, epilepsy, that everyone had got ‘something’. And if they didn’t now, they would at some point in the future. He’d often ask what people/animals had ‘got’, and we had a chuckle mixing it up; Chunky Stan had glaucoma, LB ‘trucks’, Steve Wright ‘dj-itis’.

“Dj-itis Mum?”

I was, like other mums of dudes like LB, a fighter, defender, protector, advocate, manager. A key worker trying to craft an imagined future for him. In a world in which imagined futures for dudes like LB are rare. The bar set so appallingly and unacceptably low. On every count.

A person who loved him beyond life.

He fully expected his mum to collect him from the unit.

But I didn’t.

11 thoughts on “‘Mum’

  1. Hi Sara
    I can relate so much to all you say and while I’d guess your LB and my Sam didn’t share a long list of things in common, those they did share had more significance than most people could understand.
    My son brought us to another parallel planet

  2. Seems like a ridiculous post to like, but it deserves acknowledgement. It is so achingly clear from your posts that you’re a great Mum, the best in fact. None of that changed with the events of July 4th, in fact if anything your strength since then just shows how great you are. Please keep writing.

  3. How achingly poignant. I recognise so much of what you say and feel but haven’t had to face that parting. In fact my son will be 24yrs old tomorrow and I will be thinking of you and your loss. Much love to you and your family.

  4. You are still mum – he will always be part of you and everyone who loved him. But that might not help now. I’m so sorry for you. You may have many shoulders but if not, I think I’m a near neighbour – email me.

  5. Mummy is still my (14 year old) son’s only spoken word. Everything is mummy, mummy, mummy. And his talker words are interspersed with spoken mummys. I can hear how LB must have sounded. And yes, I understand exactly what you mean when you say you were his constant in a very confusing word. What happened to LB, to you, is my biggest fear. I ache for you I really do. There are no words that can being to say anything about your loss, because this should never have happened. But I feel it. xx

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