Thursday, 29 September 2011

20 Years Ago Today I Lost My Mum

It was the 29th September, 1991 a beautiful Brisbane day. It was warm and the humidity was heavy in the air. I was 22 years old.

My dear mum had Cancer. It was very aggressive and had spread to her lymph glands. After about four operations and courses of chemo and radiation therapy the doctors couldn't do any more. They decided to move Mum into a hospice with palliative care. So she was moved to Mt Olivet in Kangaroo Point. The day they told us that it wouldn't be long, I remember going home that night, getting into bed, pulling the covers over my head, pulling my knees up into my chest, curling up into a tight ball and moaning like some sort of wounded animal, then I cried until no more tears would come.

My mum was an amazing person. Born in Southampton in 1936. She lived through the Southampton Blitz in 1940/41. The air raid sirens would go off and they would all troop down to the bomb shelter, with their gas masks. She said her mum would then go back into the house and make everyone a cup of tea, sirens or no sirens!

She married when she was 21 to my Dad. An opportunity came up to travel to Australia. So in 1957, a sweet, English girl came out to a Cattle Station near Broome in the rugged outback of Western Australia. What a culture shock that must have been. But mum was made of quite strong stuff.

Her next adventure was to the jungles of Liberia in west Africa. Where I was born in 1969.

My mum was charismatic, drew people to her like a magnet, always helping out, whenever and wherever she saw a need. Her life was interesting and varied. She took it all in her stride. She was loved by all.

To deal with the pain in the later stages my mum was taking lots of Morphine. Which I know was needed, but the mum that I knew and talked to about things wasn't there any more. She was confused, had hallucinations and her mind wandered and if she did speak I couldn't make much sense of it. Then on that warm Sunday afternoon we were around your bed. I was holding your hand when you slipped away.

Then such a contrast of feelings flooded over me - emptiness, relief, panic, lightening, release. I remember walking around in a daze for the rest of the day. Feeling sorry when I told others what had happened and seeing them struggle with words to reply.

I realised then that I am strong, just like my mum.

How you would love your grand kids. You got to see your first grandchild, my gorgeous nephew Daniel. But my first baby came alone in 2003. I still feel that aching emptiness there when I think of you. A girl will always need her mum, and that, for me will never change. I love you Mum.


1 comment:

  1. Your Mum sounds like she was an amazing gift to many and although your children won't get to meet her, I'm sure that there will be many elements of who you are and how you live your life that are genuine tribute to her strength and beauty.

    Sending you a warm-hearted hug on this day.


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