I seek approval from dead people.
I’m not a weirdo. I don’t mean that in a freaky kind of 6th sense ‘I see dead people,’ way.
Since my Mother died I cannot count the number of times that I have asked myself what she would have thought of a particular decision I’d made or a way I’d behaved.
I don’t think there is anything necessarily wrong with that. My Mother was a staunch Catholic but one who put my happiness above any religious beliefs. When I told her in my early teens that I do not believe in God she was clearly disappointed. But she didn’t try and change my mind:
“Make your own decisions,” she told me, “I’m confident that you do not need a God to live as a good man. But God will be there waiting for you to find him again.”
We rarely discussed my lack of Faith after that again.
But as my Mother was a woman of very admirable morals, I like to use her as a benchmark.
“What would Mum think?” I asked my sister again over lunch today (I love my lunch hour when it’s spent with my sister and nephew) as we discussed a few current goings on and talked about how our lives have both changed in recent years.
“She’d think you’d given her two of the most beautiful Grandchildren in the world and that you are a good husband and work hard for your family. And she’d tell you she’s proud and remind you again that all she ever wants is to see you happy.”
It would have been easy to dismiss as ‘something nice your sister says’ were it not for the fact that I know she is saying the exact words my Mother would say. I’ve made mistakes in the past. I’m not perfect. But I think I am doing alright and I think she would think I am too.
Any single time I am faced with a decision I ask myself what she would think. Any time I face a complication I ask the same question. I don’t always follow paths that she herself would follow – in the same way I wouldn’t always agree with her if she were here now. But any time I do make a decision, I like to feel that if it is not one she would approve of, that it is one I can in the very least justify and know that she would understand.
I’d say it’s ‘funny’ or ‘odd’ to live life like that. But it’s not. I used to think it was odd – my need to understand what she would think or the need to apologise to her for mistakes when she is no longer here. But really I suppose it is perfectly normal for a man to want to make his Mother proud. And I'm far from ashamed to admit that is something I certainly want to do.