All posts filed under: Stories

motherhood without a mum

Cheryl’s Story

My mother was truly beautiful, inside and out. She was an only child and always wanted a large family. She was softly spoken, patient, loving, supportive, always there for my dad and her kids. Very caring and honest. She touched the lives of so many people in the town we lived and gave me and my three brothers a wonderful upbringing in the country in New South Wales, Australia. My mother was diagnosed with cancer when she was 55 years old and I was 23 years old. She came to Sydney with my father to tell me she had cancer but said she felt fantastic and not to worry. About 10 months later she went down hill very rapidly. She stopped eating, and started loosing weight. She said she didn’t want chemotherapy or radiotherapy, but she did have it right at the end, but by that time it was too late. A year later on the eve of her 56th birthday I put her into hospital as she had come back to Sydney to stay …

motherhood without a mum

Sofia’s Story

When I was pregnant with my first child I was determined not to get any help from my family. I am used to doing things on my own. My dad is the only relative I have that lives in the same country as me, and my mother died when I was 11-years-old. When she died, we were living in a small flat in London, paid for by housing benefit. We had emigrated here after my dad had lost his job due to the Argentine economic crisis of the late Nineties. In London, where employment rates were pretty high in 1999, it was much easier for my dad to find a low-paid job. Overnight, we went from being an affluent middle-class family, to buying all our groceries in Netto, and buying less food one week in, order to afford shoes that month. But we were together. When my mum died suddenly in 2000, it meant my dad had to stop working full-time in order to take care of me. We had even less money, and processing …

Amanda’s Story

My mum died when I was four years old. It was a month before my fifth birthday and I have just recently found out from a family friend that my mum had bought me a beautiful life size doll with long chestnut hair and green eyes. She was hiding it in her wardrobe and was very excited about giving it to me on my fifth birthday. My mum never got to give me the doll and I never got to see it. It must have been destroyed in the house fire, along with everything else that I held dear to me. My mum was killed by a man who came knocking on her door asking for lodgings. He was a bad man who had done bad things and his intentions were bad on the day my mum let him into our home. My mum was a good, kind woman whose intentions were good but very sadly the two worlds collided and the outcome was horrendous. After my mum died I woke up in a hospital …

Helen’s Story

It’s difficult to remember us as a family unit that actually included my mum fully as she died when I was seven-years-old so my memories that include her in the house on a normal day just don’t really exist. My mum met my dad when they were teaching at the same school. They had me and my two brothers very close together and my mum gave up work to look after us. From what I can remember our mum was very dedicated to creating a happy family unit and together my parents committed to having three children in close succession, but mum became very ill with cancer only a couple of years after my youngest brother was born. It’s hard to remember what our life was like with mum because most of my memories exist through photographs that other people took (by that I mean, I didn’t take the images so they aren’t my memories). We are catholic so I have memories of Sunday best church outfits and biscuits afterwards which was the best bit. …

Rebecca’s Story

I lost my mum on 21st December 1995. I was 8-years-old, and my sister was 5. I hate that term, lost. I didn’t lose her. She was ripped from my life after a battle with ovarian cancer. Hysterectomy. Chemotherapy. Hospice. She fought with humour, grace, and style. No NHS wig for her, she rocked a patterned head scarf and exotic earrings and was amazing. After 20 years of being motherless, I’d grown used to it. I will never say that time heals, but birthdays passed and anniversaries were remembered – the dates etched into my memory forever more.  Mother’s day usually left me sobbing in a cold, windy cemetery as I left yellow roses at her grave. The day I got my exam results; passing my driving test; the dance shows; the day I landed a promotion.  All silently marked in my mind by the absence of the most beautiful woman with the warmest smile and the hope she would be proud of what I had achieved. I had never planned to become a mother. …

Hannah’s Story

When I read some of the other stories on this site, I know that I am lucky. My Mum was able to be a grandmother for two years and 10 months before her death from cancer aged 61. But oh god, having seen how much being a grandma brought to her life and how much it brought to my sons’ lives, I feel so cheated that all that mutual joy and love was so abruptly ended. My Mum was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when my eldest son was 10 weeks old. In the fug of new motherhood my dad called me to give me the devastating news and I just couldn’t take it in – however, when I went to the first consultant meeting with her a month after that and the doctor clearly said that she could not be cured, I knew then that she was living on borrowed time. As my son grew stronger and I watched him pass all his first little milestones so my Mum grew weaker and the tumours began …

Penny’s Story

In 2000, after 12 years of severe depression my mother Chrissy committed suicide. The night I heard she died I lay in my bed, hair still wet from the shower that had been interrupted by the call, with a deep sense that I hadn’t begun to feel the pain. I lay there, age 22, across the world from where she lay, counting off the events in my life I was going to live through without her. Just six weeks into my new life in London, the tether to my old life, my home, was gone. I made the 24 hour plane journey back to Melbourne, I cried, swapped stories, hugged and even laughed. Her funeral service was jammed to the rafters, with the many friends she had made over her lifetime, all of them in disbelief that this gentle soul’s life had ended this way. I thought about how lucky I had been to have her until I was 22, instead of 14, when the threat of her suicide was with us almost daily. There …

Helena’s Story

I remember the exact time and place when my world fell apart – I was 16 in a car with my mum and she told me she’d found a “lump”. In one fell swoop my centre of gravity stopped revolving around me in my life as a selfish teenager as it dawned on me how important this special woman was to me, and tried to contemplate what these words would mean. I had a happy upbringing growing up in the countryside – I am the youngest of three children – the only girl with a gap of seven years between me and my next brother, and I think it would be fair to say I was allowed to get away with much more than my older brothers!  I was most definitely a tomboy, far more into wrestling than playing with Barbies so my Mum was usually only acting as a referee when I pushed a brother too far and got a punishment in return. Due to the age gap though I spent most of my …

Grace’s Story

It’s tempting to start this by saying I had been grieving the loss of my mum for most of my life, but to be honest that’s too simplistic. She wasn’t dead to me, far from it, she was painfully present in my mind. But at some point she had given up on life, and like those zombie hands reaching out of cartoon graves, she seemed to want to take everyone down with her.  From what I’ve leant since, losing your mother at any age is debilitatingly hard, but losing your mother right after having baby yourself is like being rocketed into space and floating around in a tin can with a dodgy FaceTime connection to earth with sometimes only bleeps and images of faces getting through. I also now realise when I see eulogies about other people’s lost leading ladies, that losing a great mother is very different to losing someone who had failed, for whatever reason, to be one. There is no comparison as to whose pain is greater, there are no medals to …

Linda’s Story

My story begins in a little country town in Queensland, Australia called, Maryborough. I have an older brother, older sister and a younger brother. Yes I was that attention seeking middle child that pretended I was the only child. Although that was quite hard to do in our family as we were very close. My parents dedicated their life to us children and always encouraged us to dream big. Music and church were both massive parts of our life and we would often have the “family jams” as we all played a couple of instruments. We would have people stay with us that didn’t have a family, or just needed some love, as our mum loved helping people so much. You see love wasn’t just a word from our parents, it was an action and I’m forever grateful for that. My mum who was born in the 50’s was poisoned by teething powder which caused her to develop a serious lung condition. At the age of 23 she was desperate to be a mother but …