My mum shared every family occasion with us, from birthdays to Easter so when she died in 2003 we were left with a terrible void. We were sad every day, but felt it particularly at family celebrations.
My daughter took me out on Mother’s Day that year, driving me round the countryside, just the two of us. At her wedding, I kept thinking my mum should have been there to see her get married. I’m not going to go on about it because anyone who has lost their mum knows that the sadness seems endless.
I don’t know why, but I decided we should all dress up for Halloween and we all set about sorting out costumes. It was just us, the family, at home. We’d never done anything like it before and it seemed to lift us for a while. Here was something that had no memories. It wasn’t a conscious thing, but there you go.
The daft thing is, that over the years it has become one of the things that reminds me of my mum, because it was the first thing we did that had no memories attached.
When I was a child my mum used to go out on her broomstick at Halloween until all the twigs fell out and she was grounded. Well that’s what she told me anyway and as she was a witch, I believed her.
She used to have a little witch hanging up in the front room window and my cousin wrote a poem about her witchery and made it into a little booklet.
So that’s what the dressing up at Halloween is all about anyway. Among others we’ve had the Osbournes, Indiana Jones, Adam Ant, Obi Wan Kenobi, Jack Charlton, Jack Sparrow – and now we have Little People to join in, it’s even better.
And while I was looking for Halloween pictures, I found this one of Sammy – it was taken on a mobile phone and not great, but it is one of my favourite ones of him taken before he got so ill. He couldn’t believe the cheek of the dove sitting on the windowsill right under his nose!
He really was the most easy going, sweet natured cat and that was the only time I ever saw him look cross.