Mothers and those other special women who feel like our mothers play a vital role in our lives. With my dad passing away when I was only seven years old, the bond I shared with my beautiful mum flourished into a treasured adult relationship. She was the kindest, wisest soul – a person who gave her love so unconditionally and non-judgmentally. I was always able to rely on her, to feel reassured that she would genuinely listen to me and help me to see my world through a clearer lens. She had a knowing about what the right thing to do was in any tricky situation!
When my mum passed away a few years ago now, my whole world changed forever. I remember feeling confused and angry that other people seemed to be able to continue their daily lives in a ‘normal’ sort of routine, when nothing would ever be the same for me again! Those of us who have farewelled our mothers know this feeling deeply, and we also know that the passing of time will never ease this loss. We also know that our bond is so powerful that we will cherish and remember every moment lived together forever, and that our mothers will continue to influence our every thought, choice and life decision.
When I thought about writing my weekly blog to celebrate Mother’s Day, I realized that I wanted to write a letter to my mum to thank her for the life skills she taught me in my 45 years of daughter-hood! So please indulge me and read my letter:-
Where do I start? Perhaps at the very beginning.
Thank you for giving me the personal freedom to ride my bicycle to and from school during the long primary years, to piano lessons in the afternoons and all over our neighborhood on weekends. Thank you for always having a delicious lunch ready for me when I got home – grilled chicken wings were my favorite! Thank you for giving me some money to buy Christmas gifts for the whole family, driving me to the shops and leaving me there for a few hours to spend my small amount of cash wisely and prudently – and then the many hours of gift wrapping that would ensue on the lounge room floor! Thank you for driving me all over town to sporting events; I still remember the day we were caught in a horrific electric thunderstorm on the way to a swimming carnival and never made the meet! Thank you for prying my Anatomy books away from me the night before the overwhelming second year university exam, when I was almost hysterical with anxiety. Go to sleep now, you said! You’ll remember more if you’re rested – how wise you were! Thank you for supporting my academic life so powerfully silently – praising every effort but never placing any pressure on me.
Thank you for your grandmotherly wisdom and for the thousands of letters and faxes you wrote to us over the years. I have kept every one of them and pray that one day any future grandchildren I am blessed with will be able to read them! You always had many questions, listened with intent and were slow to give advice unless specifically asked to voice your opinion.
From you I learned to be thankful for the friends in my life. From you I realized that we don’t need to be burdened with many possessions – what matters is that we give our love and time to our family, our friends and our communities. From you I learned the benefit of a good laugh, and to try and see the funny side of things in life. You were always cutting out funny snippets from newspapers and magazines, and sending them to people to make them laugh. I think you would have enjoyed the magic of the internet! I still remember your advice on a first date! Just ask loads of questions, you said – people love to talk about themselves! Managing finances never interested you. I recall your green ledger where you kept a tidy account of your bills – and your adamant refusal to ever borrow money or be in any kind of debt. Your dinner parties were legendary. So many times the Persian rugs were rolled aside so that everyone could have a dance – Abba was your favorite!
Your life wasn’t an easy one. Your own dad passed away when you were one. He was a doctor, and caught pneumonia from a patient at a time when there were no antibiotics. Your own husband passed away, leaving you with the responsibility to love and raise four young children. Your health became a challenge in later years, yet you never complained. Your strength in those times will stay with me forever. Every day I look at this painting of you as a young girl which sits above my desk and I know that you are still here with me, every day and every moment.
And through it all, on this Mother’s Day, I want to let you know that I love you with all of my heart. You taught me the power of perseverance and to never give up. You showed me that life can be hard, but that things get better with hard work and the passage of time.
I am who I am because of you. Thank you.
With love, Alison’