I told my mum that our new pup was named Elsy and I could hear her cackle in my ear far away in Sweden land. One of her friends was an Elsie so it was just too human for her. As it turned out Elsy in fact thought she was human and had very little time for the canine peers we tried to introduce her to. Friends of mine would come to visit and bring their dogs. Elsy would patiently let the intruder sniff her most private parts, dutifully reciprocate and then spend the rest of the time with us two legged lot. Any friend or love interest from the visiting dog produced mainly bored looks and deep sighs. She would give me these accusing eyes of “how long do I have to put up with this one?”
When Elsy and Anita finally met at the next must-visit-grand-kids-in-Australia trip, Elsy won my mum’s heart at first lick. Elsy and Momo (the grandma title, courtesy first born grand child) favoured our verandah during hot summer days where they could enjoy ocean views and often a breeze. Momo would sit on the hard chair (better for the back) with her cigarettes while Elsy was conked out flat on the side panting and wishing she was back down the beach jumping in the cooling waves. The grand mother would draw in the nicotine and talk to the dog who would flip her ears and sometimes talk back. I think it was nice for my mum to just relax and speak swedish knowing that Elsy would understand. Being surrounded with english was tiresome for a Swedish Momo.
My mum loved dogs. Growing up there was always a dog-sibling or two in our family. My mum loved Elsy and back in Sweden on the phone to me I would have to put Elsy on so they could have a little chat. That meant my mum chatting away and Elsy turning her head this way and that way.
This week it was 5 years ago since my beloved Elsy fell asleep in my arms and 2 years ago my dear mum passed away with only my youngest sister to keep her company. I miss my mum (Mor as we called her in Swedish) and I still miss my Elsy who had the softest ears. Mans’ best friend is indeed a great mate and mum is mum. One day when I am not so busy again, I plan to have another dog. But I cannot replace my mum and even though we spoke on the phone every week, there is so much I wish I’d said. There are questions I wish I’d asked. So much to tell her that has happened in just the last two years. My mum knew me before my first breath. She was my source, my beginning. She instilled in me so much of the principles I live by. Loosing your mum leaves you with a void inside that no one else can fill – a limpid longing of what was and who you were in your mothers’ eyes.
There’s more I want to write about my mum about her past, her victories and her defeats but that’s for another time.