Today is the anniversary of my Mother’s Death. Fifteen years have ebbed and flowed away since she died from a heart attack. Her body was decimated at the end by cancer, a bowel cancer that had raged against all the treatments, it had spread throughout her body, leaving her an exhausted skeletal figure, a shade of the former woman she had been.
Mum, was a wife, a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, a daughter and a sister. At the time of her death, she still had an older sister alive, and two brothers who had adored her when she was growing up. She had raised five children, four daughters and one son. And had seen all of them, apart from me, go on to marriage, children and mortgages.
She’d seen her other children, start families, and have children, and in the case of my eldest sister’s family, produce another generation too. And she loved each and every one of us. Even me, the late bloomer, the one who was so dead set against falling into the traditional roles, the one who was resolutely single for a long time. And even though she found my decisions hard to understand, she loved me, and stood by me – even when we argued about them.
Her gift to all was the quiet wisdom that comes from having lived and served her country through a world war, a move to Australia away from the family she loved and adored in Yorkshire, to a strange place filled with strangers, following my Father on their quest for a better life for the children. A different life from the dour, northern life we would have experienced. One filled by opportunity and access to education, things my parents had never had.
At the end of her life, she was more open about her feelings, acknowledging that she missed her family, and those left behind in England. She would tell those around her that she loved them, and ended each phone call with I love you and I am proud of you. And I follow her tradition, to tell those I love because I’m not waiting around til I’m dying to let them know how important they are to me.
I want to say here, and now, that I am proud to be her Daughter, to have had the privilege of knowing her, and that I choose today to celebrate her life, after years of mourning on this day, I want to remember her for the life she lived, not the death that took her from us all.
To all those who experience loss, know that you’re not alone, and that there are others who will understand, just pick up the phone, or email and they’ll be there for you….