Claire said that often.
"Mum, can't you cancel that drink with your friends, when you do to pick me up from the cinema at midnight?"
"Mum, why haven't you done my washing this week? I've got no clean clothes to wear"
"Mum, why did you cook that dinner I HATE that""
aah, you'll miss me when I'm gone.
She was right wasn't she of course, but not the reasons she thought. You see when Claire was alive, and I guess it's the same for many busy mums, she viewed herself as the person that managed the house.
She was the operations director, the self proclaimed sock fairy (you know, those socks that wash themselves and just turn up back in the drawer again), the quartermaster and the managing director all rolled into one. A very practical role and one that she thought we would miss when she was gone.
We had reasonably well-defined roles around the house, nothing was explicit but we implicitly new what each of us had to do to keep things going. Principally I fixed things and earned the money to buy things, Claire did everything else.
But what is that 'everything else'?
Claire thought it was all the practical stuff, but now she is gone that's not why we miss her.
All of those practical things she did just need a system, a flowchart or a spreadsheet with a list of tasks, who is going to do them, when they are going to be done by and agreement from all of us that they will be done.
If we run out of something in the kitchen it gets written on the list and I order it online on Friday night. If someone needs their clothes washed they pick them all up, walk around the house to get other people's clothes and put the machine on.
It's pretty simple really, it's just a system.
What we really miss is Claire's female input, her softer view of the world, her caring nature, her selflessness as a mother and wife.
And as I reflect now it seems so obvious that these are the things that we would miss without her here, and yet when she was here those things went unsaid, all we did as a family was recognised her for her practical input. But she was so much more than that.
And if you have a wife or a mum I challenge you to recognise how much more than that that they are. It's when they are gone that we truly notice the balance that they bring to our lives, I feel so inadequate now, even though I can get all the practical stuff done.
Sure, I have skills as the man of the house but my inadequacies have now been amplified.
So the next time your wife or mum offers you comfort, puts her arm around you to let you know that you'll be alright remember she's so much more than the sock fairy - and remember to tell her that too.Suggest a correction