And fathers. Two people it is almost impossible for us to be neutral about. Particularly if they’re our own.
I was running a reading group last week in a Mental Health and Wellbeing Centre. We were reading Of Mice and Men. A new member of the group launched into a tirade about her mother and the many, many ways in which she had been abusive and ostracizing towards her. At times like these, Larkin’s This Be The Verse seems like the only sane rejoinder.
I said something slightly wet in response to all this, bringing us back to the book: “Well, there aren’t too many mothers in Of Mice and Men…” But maybe she needed books crammed with mothers and daughters, homeopathic literature, like cured by like, or at least by reading about it.
On Friday one of my closest friends wrote to tell me that his mother had died from a brain tumour that had felled her in less than a month. “I’d like to meet up, maybe in a few weeks- for now I am in bits.”
Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the UK. So I’ve been thinking quite a bit about mothers mourned and mothers hated, mothers loved, even obsessively loved, mothers turned into psychoanalytic demons, mothers who once were daughters of other mothers. And so on.