A year ago

I’ve been keeping reminding myself to remember on the 5th of September about the first anniversary of mum’s death. Just like I remembered on August the 19th that a) it was grandma’s birthday and b) it was my 10 year anniversary of arriving in London with but a pink backpack, a small wad of money and one very disappointing husband (not Kevin).


takapuna fleamarket, august 2007

And just by chance I happened to look through some old photographs and just by chance I opened some from a year ago. Which in turn reminded me again, today is the fifth. And today I’ll light a candle in my mind for mum, or something like that. As I walked home this evening after my last day at LBi I looked up the street and saw a funeral parlour and imagined what it would be like to die. And I remembered the passage from the book, The Silver Bird, by Joyce Petschek, I read out at mum’s funeral when I invoked Elspeth to help me to ‘project my voice’ as she would always direct me to do at drama practice.

And I was wondering what it was like for mum when she was dying, and whether it must have been just like going to sleep and into dream state and your soul is conscious of its journey but the conscious mind has gone to sleep; and where the two meet and where one fades out and is replaced by the other.


Lauren, Astrid, Hannah – the week before Astrid’s operation, July 2007

Sometimes I think to myself I’m glad mum died. And I am. I actually think I’m extremely fortunate she died. And it’s jolly difficult to explain why without writing paragraph upon paragraph of this is what happened then, and then this happened, and that person thought that. And without sounding, well, slightly awful or strange (but never mind about that, I’m sure I am both, sometimes).


Rufus and Astrid, July 2007

However… one of my life ambitions was to have a daughter, and to have a good relationship with my daughter. Something that didn’t happen with my mum and hers, and me and my mother. And now I’m free to do just that. And that’s why I’m glad. And that’s why I’m super glad to be having two daughters. When I think to myself how much stuff I have lived and done and seen in my thirty five years I think well mum lived for sixty four years. That’s a long time. That’s a long life. And maybe it would have been more noble if mum had stayed alive and we’d sorted it all out like one big marvellous family. But that’s obviously not the lesson for this lifetime.



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9 responses to “A year ago”

  1. Creature of Habit avatar

    I’m so sorry to read about your Mum. I think our familial relationships are complex, confusing and rewarding – each in its own way.

    In lighter news – I love the new header! I look forward to seeing all the new creations for the girls now that you’ll be home a little more!!:)

  2. amy avatar

    family can be complicated. but it also what makes us who we are – which is sometimes hard to accept. thinking of you on this day.

  3. Yvonne avatar

    I do understand every word you’re writing and there’s nothing wrong, strange or awful about it, it’s just how it is. It’s good you actually know how it is so you can’t do wrong again – not another generation of wrong-doers yes?

    Add another point to having a child – doing it right this time.

  4. Yvonne avatar

    + I love the new design ;o)

  5. caroline avatar

    For better or worse, mums are funny creatures! I’m sorry yours has gone.

    And if you need a little coaching today, I just so happen to have an Elspeth handy. I’d be glad to have her call out instructions!

  6. melissa avatar

    i find this such a moving and beautiful post. the photos, your writing, the sentiments. i remember the day your mum died, last year. it doesn’t seem that long ago.

  7. Lyn avatar

    I admire your honesty and bravery in writing about your relationship with your mum. I hope you can ‘start again’ with your own daughters but just remember for better or worse often we are a product of our past. In my experience happy families are a illusion and searching for that ideal often has the oppersite effect. But we are what we are,if you bring up your children to be kind and honest. You can’t do much better than that. I always think the day I realised that my parents where not infallible and made mistakes too and could accept and even understand them for that was the day I truly became a adult. My own mum died when she was 63 of emphysema, she’d smoked since she was 14. Not an attractive way to die, oh no, not at all. So even though I don’t know you Charlotte and I didn’t know your mum, I feel sad.

  8. lies avatar

    Oh sweet C… You are so honest and golden. Twice. I respect you very much for sighing painful words.
    You deserve 2 daughters. Girl! Aw let’s revise in about 16 years? Ha ha. Let’s laugh lots. Always. Right better get back to my computer break.

  9. Clare avatar

    Aww C, thank you for sharing these personal thoughts… I just had a visit from my mum who I’d not seen for 4 years…it was very tough… I love being a mother more than anything…I don’t know where I learnt that from though…enough said. Astrid looks so precious asleep with your cat. Take care, much love, Clarex

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