All posts filed under: Stories

Sarah’s Story

The year of birth and death: that is what I call the year I lost my mom. I gave birth to my first child and eight months later my mom died. My daughter is now three years old and while I’m still a relative newbie with this grief stuff, I’ve learned a few things along the way. Firstly, a depressing post-storm beach does not make for an ideal backdrop to honour your loved one on the anniversary of their passing. Secondly, ordering take-out Chinese food on Christmas Eve is in fact a perfectly fine way to honour your loved one during the holidays, because recreating every dish you can recollect your mother making since the early 1980s is neither sane nor realistic. And thirdly, grief is never chosen, but it can give you gifts, if you choose to find them. I got the The Phone Call in August of 2013. My mom had recently been in the hospital and my dad was calling with what I thought would be a routine update. I was immediately …

Helen’s Story

It was a Thursday night in January when my dad called to tell us that my mum was sick. I remember what I was cooking and I remember what was on the telly. She had had an x-ray the previous day, referred by her GP after a persistent (but very minor sounding) cough. She had also started to have some pain in her hips, but we had all assumed it was arthritis and never imagined the two could be linked. The x-ray showed lesions, consistent with tumours, on her lungs, and the doctor had rung to tell her the news. My mum was also a GP and my dad a pathologist. Between them, they knew too much, and they must have known that it was bad. That it was cancer. My mum had a hair appointment that morning and she kept it. I love that she did that. For a short time, we wondered if the lesions on her lungs might be TB. We prayed for TB. She had had it and survived it as …

Polly’s Story

Those of you lucky enough to parent a threenager won’t be surprised to learn that yesterday my daughter made me cry. I’m often driven to tears by my wondrous little terror; of laughter, frustration and sometimes, actual physical pain (toddler teeth and nails can be surprisingly sharp). But yesterday was different – because my daughter asked me, “where’s YOUR mummy gone?” and I felt the tears creeping down my face. This month marks nine years since a sudden heart attack snatched my mother away from us and the first time my daughter, Lala, has asked about the grandmother she’ll never know. Yet again, the reality of being a mother has brought the loss of my own home to me. My mother died when I was 25, long before I started to think about having children, so I’m haunted by the questions I never asked her. Being a mother is without question the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I desperately regret not taking the time to ask her how she managed to pull it off …

Bea’s Story

I was nine when my mum died of breast, and then lung cancer, and she was 41. I was terrified when she died. I felt like I was going to die myself. I had no idea how I would survive. I didn’t feel that I knew my dad that well by comparison to the relationship I had with my mum and I remember feeling really scared that I had been left to be looked after by him, I didn’t know how he, or we, would manage. My mum was my entire world, the best, most comforting, most lovable, safe person alive. She was loving, and I absolutely knew that she loved and adored me. She was very encouraging, she wouldn’t let anything get in my way, and she wanted me to be free to be whoever and whatever I wanted to be. She was also a gentle, kind, generous and giving kind of person. My mum and dad had, I suppose, quite traditional roles. My mum looked after us full time, as well as working for my …

Kellie’s Story

I first heard the term motherless mother when another Mum casually mentioned it to me at a party one day. My daughter was about a year old at the time and I must admit, I don’t think I’d fully articulated what it meant to be a Mum without a Mum, until that very moment. But all of a sudden, there it was. My loss had endowed upon me a heartbreaking title; I was a Motherless Mother. I was born into your average middle class/leftie/hippie family. Well, average if you consider your parents still wearing flares in the late 80’s normal. My parents valued education, love, natural health and good times (and not necessarily in that order). I was the eldest of three, and we lived a happy life; traipsing through paddocks, riding horses, and trying to solve the never ending challenge of how try sneak junk food into the house without being caught. Dad worked long hours, and so did Mum. But even so, it was Mum who made our lunches, our basketball games, and our …

Lily’s Story

Finding love, becoming a mum and having a family of my own, these were things I’d wanted for as long as I could remember. Maybe it was my hope to create a home, maybe it was an attempt to heal a hole in my heart. Maybe I was tired of being the perpetual outsider and longed for a place that I would truly belong, I’m not sure, but these were my dreams and I desired them with a fire. I used to make wishes constantly. When I caught a falling leaf, if I came across a wishing well or when the numbers lined up on the clock, these were all times I would extend my wish into the the universe. Catching a dandylion seed I would whisper my secret into it’s fluffy top, then blow it away and watch as my little prayer floated through nature. When I met Victor I knew he was the man I would marry. It took a lot of persuasion but a few years later I was living in London, …

Katie’s Story

I still remember the day I found out I was pregnant with my first (now 5 1/2). My partner and I had stopped being ‘careful’ and at 9am on a workday I was buying an early pregnancy test and peeing on it in the communal office toilets – how Ally McBeal. I had to restrain myself from letting out a squeal when it was positive and sat at my desk feeling like I was going to burst, along with wanting to vomit in my bin. Sounds magical doesn’t it? But then reality set in – how was I going to do this without Mum? Mum died when I was 23 after a ten-year battle with the C-word. My world imploded and I was totally devastated. Who would I scoff cheese with until I felt sick? Who would tell me I looked utterly ridiculous without reducing me to tears or teach me how to make the perfect G&T (decent gin, ice and lots of lemon)? I didn’t think ‘who will hold my hand through labour or …

Emma’s Story

It is now over 13 years since my mum died, and I write this just over a week from what would have been her 70th birthday. Although she died when I was 27, I lost her a long time before that, probably around the age of about 21 when she got her diagnosis – early onset dementia, or Alzheimer’s. As you can imagine the parent child role reversal was pretty swift, and shocking, and something I certainly wasn’t equipped to deal with as a young woman in the middle of university and about to head to London to embark on a career in fashion PR. My mum got her diagnosis at the age of 50, although she had been showing signs from her late 40’s, we just didn’t realise it. Her deterioration progressed quickly and suddenly I found myself faced with an incapable toddler, a stroppy teenager and a frail old lady all rolled into one. She lost her job, her driving licence and gradually her dignity. It was horrific and now even just hearing …

Kate’s Story

The phone rang, I was nicely merry in a Summer haze of sunshine and cider after a day picnicking with friends in Regents Park.  We had popped home to change outfits before joining everyone out that night. I heard my big brothers voice, then it blurs.  I fell to the floor, just like you see in the movies.  I screamed, I cried and then adrenaline kicked in and I began the search for a sober friend to drive me up to Cheshire to say goodbye to my Mum. You see she had a burst brain aneurysm and she wasn’t going to make it.  As in, she was going to die.  “There’s nothing that they can do.”After a few calls to everyone that I knew I eventually I tracked down my other brother who was enjoying a meal out and had also picnicked with us that day, his girlfriend agreed to drive us up north. What to pack? How long would I be gone?  I knew that there would be a funeral. Say what, a funeral, was this …

Georgina’s Story

My mum was the kind of mother that everyone wanted. She was immense fun and our house was filled with laughter, books, animals (gerbils, cats, dogs and guinea pigs) and a warm fuzzy sort of chaos.  She never asked people to take their shoes off and always invited whoever we had round that day to stay for dinner. As the youngest of three, there was always plenty of people around and lots going on. She wasn’t big on routine or rules and she didn’t sit down and spend hours playing with us. She was too busy making chocolate brownies, drinking G&Ts, reading or chatting to her friends. She was our mum but she also had her own life, irrespective of us and made that quite clear from the outset. She made sure that her values and the things she thought were important – family, language and literature (she was an English teacher), horses, kindness, cuddles and good manners were instilled in us as much as possible… but other than that she let us get on …