I remember waking up that morning at 5 am, startled by my noisy alarm. I smiled with glee and got ready to flee. Mummy and I were gonna climb a mountain. My first one. I ate my breakfast, washed my face, tussled my hair and…

“Mummy, mummy”

But she didn’t answer me. Silly mummy, sleeping I thought.

“Mummy, mummy”

I ran screaming, round the house and barged into her room. I was a noisy child, especially when excited.

Mummy lay there with her faint smile on her face. Her eyes shined dimly.

She was like this sometimes, deflated almost. Half gone, her eyes telling her true emptiness and her constant struggle to…

Patch it together for me.

She always put me first, even when she felt like this. She’d learnt to grit her teeth and smile through the pain, her eyes shining dimly with her mother’s love.

Mummy had good days and bad days. She enjoyed the good and struggled and fought through the bad with her dim lit eyes and her faint smiles.

I may have been a child but I had to grow up quicker than I would have done. I became mummy’s backbone and carer on the bad days. She loved me but felt in debt to me at the same time so she would always put me first.

I jumped in her bed and gave her a little hug and kiss. The bad mornings would often begin like this. I reminded her of the mountain plan and she smiled with her dim lit eyes and her faint smile. She yawned and stretched and got out of bed.

She had a quick shower, got dressed and met me in the kitchen where I was waiting. I gave her a squeeze on the hand, my way to tell her everything was going to be ok and we set off.

The mountain was an hour drive away. I’d seen it many times before but I’d just never climbed to the top. I was only just about old enough and mummy was only just about ready. It was a big feat for her in her state.

And we arrived at the starting point and we climbed and climbed. I squeezed mummy’s hand many times along the way and she just smiled at me with her dim lit eyes and her faint smile. She remained mostly silent throughout. But that was ok. The presence of each other was all we needed. Time was precious and special. Nothing could replace it.

And we got to the the top and there was no greater feeling than the mountain air slapping our faces and looking across around from our place up high together. Mummy took my hand and squeezed it with her dim lit eyes and her faint smile and told me with confidence, “I will get through this”. And I knew at that moment she would.

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