Tuheen and Mum
It’s an Achmea plant and I got it from my mum because it’s the last plant, it’s the last present, no it’s the last plant that I actually got my mum before she passed away in August.
She was a botanist and she loved plants and those were some of her really fond memories and I saw it when I was going home, so I got off at the station, I saw this plant, bought it and then took it back home.
Yeah and the flowers are just fascinating and they are just weird colours and odd. And mum was fascinated with it for ages and I didn’t quite realise it at the time but when my mum actually received the object she was starting to get really sick so it was probably a bit, her mind was probably a bit intoxicated with her own toxins.
I think selfishly there’s a part of me that wanted to pick an object that maintained the connection between me and her, but wasn’t just hers and also part protected her because my mum was really private. So things that were just purely hers, I don’t know, I can’t answer how she would have felt about something like this. So in a way, I guess it’s kind of like, rather than any of those objects being about...or being chosen, something that actually is...it is there to be displayed, that is what a flower is. It is there to be displayed so that made the most sense to me and also, because for so long it was dying, or I thought it was dying and trying your best to save it and stuff like that and not really knowing whether that’s going to happen and then submitting to the fact that nature’s going to take its course anyway...it just made sense because that process is very therapeutic and I think that’s probably why I attached myself to that plant so much. Then to find out it will flower again someday, it’s like that with some stupid hope that you have, that it’s going to spring up again in your own head somewhere, someday.
It’s not happy in the normal sense of the word but one of the happiest times I spent with mum was...we had a really honest conversation once about me and my sexuality, and it’s a bit weird to talk about because it’s not really...it didn’t start off as a happy conversation. It started off in a very stressed environment, where she was out of her comfort zone. ‘I don’t have to like it and I don’t have to like that part of your life, but it doesn’t stop me loving you and I love you and that’s part of who you are, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.’ And I was just like: you know you can’t get any fairer than that really, because that was probably the categorical indication or statement from someone where they actually unconditionally love someone.
It was happy for me because I think subsequent to that, subsequent to my mum dying, those are the kind of things that have been shook inside. Like you know, was she proud? Was she happy? Did she enjoy stuff? And we had...part of that same day, that same conversation she was like, you know, when I remember my life I will remember all of this stuff, but when I remember you I will remember all these happy things.
That’s just really nice.
The other day I said to someone, I said, ‘I just want to talk to mum.’ And they said, ‘what would you say’ you know? Because they were trying to listen and they were trying to find out what was in my head and I was like, nothing, I just want to talk, I just want to ring her up and go, ‘Hi, how are you? What’s going on, how’s life?’ And just have a meaningless, stupid chat. That’s not what I think of my mum, like meaningless and stupid, that’s not what I think of her but it’s that kind of familiarity, that kind of...sort of safe knowing that I only associate with my mum, now that it’s lacking.
Tenacious, innocent, generous. Loving, she was definitive she...stoic, wise, God she was so wise and she didn’t even know it. She always thought she was really stupid, she was told all the time she was really stupid but... Funny, she was really funny. Mad, she was mental, an alchemist, there’s an Arabic word called a Wali which is like a friend of God. It had to have been her. She was pure and stern and loud, she could be so loud when she wanted to be and she was fierce, so fierce. Classy, she was really classy, she was just so...yeah, I could probably go on and go through most of the dictionary, even some curse words, because sometimes, like...God, she had a tough side sometimes, but yeah I could go through most of the dictionary.
I knew I was going to inherit it. Yeah, because yeah, when I bought it, I didn’t think she was going to die so soon. I thought she was going to be able to enjoy it.
It’s stupid but it’s mum. I’ve drawn such a parallel between mum and that object that almost by the plant staying alive, by me keeping the plant alive, it’s like a conscious reinforcement of her presence in my life and I’m doing that with lots of other stuff as well. But all the other stuff isn’t alive. That is. So thinking about what would happen if that object left my life or if I had to get rid of it or if it was stolen or damaged or whatever, I think I’d take it as a personal failing. Like I hadn’t done enough to protect it or I hadn’t done enough to keep it safe.