Farewell to the loveliest of mothers

On Saturday my mother died.

As Ms M said, it’s all very well for the dead.  Off you go, to heaven, eternal sleep or wherever, never more to feel the pain and joy of life. It’s the living who have to miss you.

Anything I could write about my mum would be inadequate to express her complexity and sweetness.  She grew up in an age when high school wasn’t compulsory, and so her parents took her out at 13 or so and enrolled her in typing school.  And that’s why I was always able to win arguments with her (unfairly, because she certainly was no stupider than I was) .  I had the logic, I had the training, I even sometimes had the facts – but she had the clincher. “Well, have it your own way, then.”

She had long, coiled silver hair and a face which I always thought was beautifully symmetrical.  She had a warmth that made even casual visitors say ‘Your mum’s lovely, isn’t she!’ and want to go see her again.  She was well-mannered as a duchess and shy and modest as a sparrow.  She always said she didn’t know how to do small talk, but somehow she charmed everyone she met.

She used to take me into town in Sydney when I was a little girl.  As we sat on the bus she’d rub my leg with her hand, and follow passengers with a kind of birdlike, expectant smile.  Both used to embarrass and please me.

For my highschool formal, she asked me what I’d like to wear.  I couldn’t decide between two dress patterns, so she MADE me both.  She also made me a terry towelling bikini (oh dear – but thanks, mum).  I don’t remember even buying any clothes till I was 17, between my big sisters’ hand-me-downs and mum’s handmade outfits.

My dad died in 2001, and she missed him.  You love your kids, she once said, but your bond with your chosen life partner is something different.  Or something like that.  She was nearly blind, deaf, sick and arthritic but she’d always stand at the door in the freezing cold to see your car safely out of the driveway (Australia’s most dangerous driveway, maybe?).

Life is all we have, and death ends it. If there is such a thing as a ‘good’ death, mum had it – at home, in her own bed, with her children and grandchildren cuddling her.  If there is such a thing as a ‘good’ life, mum lived it – she had the main thing that you need, and that, of course, is lots of love – a passionate and later deeply affectionate marriage, kids who thought the world of her, loving grandchildren.

You know those people who write books and say in the foreword ‘I couldn’t have written this book without the help of my loving family, helpers etc…but if there are any errors they are all my own’.  Well, if there’s a book of me, the good bits are all down to you, mum (and dad too) – the not-so-good bits, they’re all my own.

Goodbye, darling mum, wherever you are

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74 comments

  1. this is one of the greatest loss of human life i believe. losing one’s father or mother. they are irreplaceable.

    i am so happy to know that you two were beautifully bonded. May her soul rest in peace and love wherever she dwells.

  2. I lost my Dad in 2001 and thankfully my wonderful Mum is still here, hopefully for many years. I love your post; heartfelt, poignant and resonant in some ways to my own relationship with both my Mum and Dad.
    But as a future note to myself I really shouldn’t read that kind of post until I get home. Yes you made this big tough guy (ok that is not strictly true, well the big bit probably is)cry at work. I had to disappear to the toilets to compose myself.
    My thoughts are with you and it sounds to me like you had a wonderful Mum, just the way I think of my own Mum xxx

    • Oh dear, I’m sorry I made you cry! I think we’re really lucky to have good parents that we love and who love us – so many people don’t. I remember when I was in my 20s meeting someone who said they didn’t love their mum and I couldn’t believe it ‘What? You don’t love your MUM? how can that be?’. You hear about some parents who are hard to love, but my mum definitely wasn’t one of those nor yours either – long may she live and happily!

  3. So sorry to hear about Mrs. M. I wish i were the type who is easily amused by saying, “oh well, it happens to all of us” … I still get sad about death. It’s a cruel, cold shock to the soul.

    You did some good karma work, my friend. 🙂

    • I think death is something that humans will never truly get – how can we be so conscious, and clever, and full of plans and ideas and growth – and then die? That said, my mum was ready to die and had been ready for a while. It’s me that wasn’t ready and couldn’t be, really. And best wishes for your blog-free life, Mel – may you soar! xoxo

  4. Rose, your mum was wonderful, I’m one of her many admirers and found her such a gentle kind and lovely lady, and so fortunate to have the opportunity to meet her and see where some of the wonderful kindness and intelligence in your family comes from. Great also to look back on the great memories and experience. Thanks for sharing this lovely post

    CS
    XOXO

  5. Oh, Beautiful…that was such a wonderful and sweet post. Your mom was obviously very special. I’m sorry for your loss..(I’m so close to my mom – I’m scared of the day I will have to say good-bye to her) You brought tears to my eyes.

    • Thanks Whitelady, I appreciate that. She was special and very loved. It’s funny, talking about this with Ms M, my daughter, she’s also scared about the day she’ll have to say goodbye to ME. What a strange chain it is. But if your mother knows you love her a heap, it’s alright.

  6. What a lovely tribute to your dear, mother. I read every word and felt the special relationship you had with her. I’m so sad for your loss, and also sad for myself because one day I’ll also have to say a very fond farewell to my own precious mom.

  7. I can’t “like” a post about your mother’s passing, but I can certainly say you wrote it beautifully. So many things about your mother and your relationship with her shine through in this piece. Well done and my condolences to you and your family.

    • Thanks very much. I wanted to give her one last ‘gift’, sort of. She was a sweetheart, no doubt about it, and I loved her dearly. Wish I’d been a better daughter, don’t we all!

      • It’s interesting … I struggled a long time with my relationship to my mother. No patience, frustration in my voice when we spoke. A few years ago, things changed. I’ll spare the details. But, there are few things I want to do more now than to provide my mother with my time and my attention. I’m by no means perfect, but I’m trying.

    • I think everyone’s relationship and feelings about their mum are different. I loved my dad very much too. I know that, as a mum, I love my kids more than anything on this earth and I’d always want them to know that.

  8. […] I’ve been lolling around my unit this morning, doing some washing and listening to music, when the random selection on my computer threw up this number. It got me thinking about a few things, as did a recent blog from my dear friend Rose. Her mother has just passed, and whilst it’s sad, it made me realise that, just as she wrote, how wonderful it is to look back and celebrate the lives of those we love, see https://butimbeautiful.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/farewell-to-the-loveliest-of-mothers/ […]

  9. Rose I am sure that your mother appreciated your talent with the written word which has has allowed you to share your thoughts and love of her here on this “page” and obviously touch all that have responded here. Thank you from all of us. Peter FB Friend..

    • Well, you’re right there. Many’s the time we had sharp words over her saying ‘But what about JK Rowling? SHE got published, didn’t she! Why don’t YOU publish your novels then?” to which I’d say ‘Yeah but mum, for every JK Rowling there’s about ten thousand failed novelists, and anyway, I don’t WANT to get published, so there!’. Poor mum. But I did read her my stories, and she always liked them, even the slightly racy ones. And thanks Peter – you’re a sweetheart and so’s your mum!

  10. A beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman.
    Thank you for sharing this, and for sharing your warm memories of her with us.
    I’m sorry she’s gone, and glad you knew her.

  11. Rose, I’m so sorry for your loss.

    A fine reflection and farewell to her; the love in it is evident. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • No. Thanks, though. I’ll miss her very much indeed, but I don’t know that I see myself as suffering a lot. Yet. There have been times and will be times when I do, but there are worse things in life than even the death of a mum (and that would be the death of a child). If that ever happens to me, I’ll know the true meaning of suffering.

  12. Rose, I am so sorry to hear about your mother. It doesn’t matter how old we are, we are never ready to lose a parent. I hope you’re doing okay. You’ve written a moving tribute to your mum her. A hug to you from the west coast of Canada.

  13. I lost my Love when I came back for my mom, she has an illness. My father passed away two years ago without me being at his side for 7 years. My heart was broken apart for almost two years. Although I have my sadness, I am also happy now, just being able to see my mom, and to talk to her, and to touch her, and she always look at me with all her love. You have your parents with you at your side most of the time, and this is the most beautiful thing to me, and this is the beauty of our heart!

    • I’m sorry that happened. But there’s nothing like the love of a mum, when it’s there and it’s good, so I’m very glad you and your mum have that. As a mum, my children are the most important thing in the world to me, and I’d never want to lose that bond I have with them.

      • That’s the different between being a girlfriend and a mom =). But is OK, everyone has their own interest in life. I wish both of us will not only move on in life, but got enriched and carried with us the good memory of life. Thanks for sharing your thought.

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