My partner Sarah’s residence, where I’m penning this piece, is around 200 yards as the crow flies from the Ossett care home where my mum passed away around eighteen months ago.

With my beau out earning some pennies at the supervised living home where she plies her trade, I’m sitting here thinking about mater. In particular the whimsical verbal exchanges which (until her drift into dementia in her final months) were frequent habitués to our conversational zeitgeist.

As I have written about many times, mum was a prolific opponent when it came to oneupmanship for what’s commonly known as piss-taking. A cutting putdown the very least I’d receive should I dare take her on in the Mickey-taking stakes.

Stood staring out of Sarah’s front window in the direction of the nearby home my siblings and I said an emotional goodbye to our beloved matriarch, I’m enveloped by melancholy. Time hasn’t been, or indeed ever will be, a healer of the gapping hole in my heart resultant when both my parents passed.

Scanning passing traffic and people movement through the fenetre my squeeze’s window cleaner desperately needs to spruce up, I yearn for one of the approaching pedestrians to be mum visiting for one last time.

Mater’s tarry taken so she can once again mischievously berate me with one of her legendary brisk putdowns. Habitual impish slights such as “If wit were shit you’d be constipated!”, when responding to one of her eldest offspring’s questionable gags.

Still standing at the same window, it’s hard to discern whether being so close to the home where mum drew her final breath brings comfort, or triggers sorrow.

Sure, I smile wryly when thinking of a force of nature mother who influenced my predominantly humorous outlook on life. A woman who could be the life and soul of any party, engaging with all and sundry in her own inimitable mischievous style. Regardless of rank.

Hers a cheeky sense of fun, drawing heavily from traditional saucy postcard whimsy so popular during the 20th century. Badinage which kept me very much ‘in check’ when ribbing individuals in her earshot became overbearing.

“You’re a good turn, but you’re on too long, Gary!” an admonishment she was fond of positing when she felt yours truly was behaving in an overly giddy fashion…. Even in my adulthood!… A playful censure I’d give anything to hear just one last time.

I know it’s a cliche (and perhaps overly saccharin) but, talking as someone who has lost both parents, if you have one or both of your immediate forebears still with you, please ensure you hug them as if your life depended on it.

Tell them every single day how much you love them… Don’t have any regrets, or things left unsaid… Personally, I left nothing unsaid, but even with that boon the loss of a parents is still a dreadful weight to bear.

Apologies if my unusually downbeat blog topic has triggered melancholy in others. Yours truly is merely endeavouring to keep these journals real… And, hey, we all have good and bad days. Perhaps I need to place a trigger warning at the beginning of any potentially contentious narratives.

Anyhow, moving onto something that puts me in a more upbeat mood. I’ll get to see Sarah late this afternoon after her mammoth 30 hour sleepover shift at work.

If you’re not party to the info, she undertakes a highly important role at the care home. Her employment raison d’être that of being tasked to look after residents hats.

Luckily for her lots of them don headwear, as if they chose to go bah t’at she might be out of a job. With this in mind, if ever any of the ‘ressies’ trilbys, baseball caps and/or beanie hats go missing (or get heavily worn) she ensures they’re replaced as a matter of urgency.

Sarah’s care home skillset doesn’t just run to hat monitoring. As the residence’s cuckoo clock is broken, management have tasked her with standing in the lounge and chiming on the hour every hour… Actually, when I say the clock is broken what I really mean is that the cuckoo has escaped; which as it is made from wood is resulting in a lot of manager head scratching.

My beau was originally asked to cuckoo on the hour every hour, but management compromised when it became clear old Sazza was better at chiming than cuckooing… Boing!… Boing!… Boing!

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