If mum could see you now : How to Honour Her

Angel Grandma

For those of us who live without our mums, who wish with our might we didnt. For those who live with regret.. I hope this helps.

When I was 26 my mum died. she found a lump in her leg and 3 months later she was gone. Cancer. Fucking Cancer.

I hadnt had kids yet. I had just finished partying, was still largely a selfish human and had just met my husband to be.

No one could have predicted she would die so suddenly. I visited her often while she was sick, often, but not for long. Infact I was in and out.. most times..like I could escape the harsh reality of a dying mother. I was as unreliable as always.. when she needed me most. The time is largely a blur now.. my mind blocks most of it..frankly I dont want to remember the worse time of my life.. there is no pride in that 3 months.

It took me a long time to move past this.. a long time.. healed in part by the birth of my first son.. She knew he would be called Jack.. her first grandchild.. and so we did.

Choosing life

The fact is.. if i knew what I knew now.. and if I was the person I was now I would never have left her side.  I would have been there from dusk til dawn, I would have juiced fresh juices, cooked her organic food and took her to mexico to see some spiritualist who would have cured her. I would have not been.. who i was.. selfish and bound to my own existence.

Fast forward 6 years. I have 3 kids. 3 crazy but amazing kids. I have a great marriage and a wonderful life.. I even live in the home where I grew up, surrounded and bathed in my childhood memories. I no longer party, unless you count the odd escape to cocktail land or dinner at a tavern with the kids. If mum could see me now.. people say.. she would be so proud. When people say this..for a moment.. I can imagine my mum.. looking down at me.. breathing the same breathe as mine.. just for a moment.. taking it all in ….. She would know that I regret, that I would do differently, that I would honour her better.. that she could have relied on me.

Finding Peace

Guilt is a marvelous thing. It can kill.. eat you up… cause disease.. cancer.. and death. This could rob my own children of their mum.. the ultimate in a selfish act. So instead I choose life.. to live without guilt..  (I would say guilt free but every so often a little tiny droplet of guilt enters.. potent, dramatic and mind crushing.. weep worthy.. and I make sure I live that moment and move on)

My guilt crushing mantra.. “If I knew what I knew.. if I was who I was now, I would have done things differently- I would have been different..”  and I breathe.. I remember that when people die that I believe they see the BIG picture.. and my selfish acts would have been looked at as learnings yet to be had..

Honour Her

If you like me are still struggling with the death of your own mum, you arent alone.. I am not sure we will ever be whole again. Having children is an awesome contributor to healing but we all know it will never be the same world without her.

  • Raise your children to honour their grandmother, your mother. I try my hardest to remember things she told me.. like how a cold washer could lower temperatures, that kids should be read to every night.. frankly I dont remember that much.. because when she died I wasnt yet a mother..
  • Give them some context of personality. My kids call her Angel Grandma because she deserves that title.. and she deserves to be thought of as something magical because she is. When we see butterflies I tell them that Angel Grandma sends a tiny bit of her spirit down so that she can fly around and check to see how they are going.. My boys greet butterflies now.. My 5 year old says she has flown down many times to check on him.. that in his mind she told him everything was going to be ok.. You could cook her food, hand her blankets on your kids beds, go through photo albums.. find ways to help your kids to feel who she was.. the best parts of her
  • Perhaps you could plant a tree, fill a jar with memories or write her a card every mothers day.. light a candle.. talk to her.. remember her. Use mothers day every year as a chance to heal, to grow closer to your mother, to grow closer to your kids.

Mothers Day for me will always be about butterflies and the realisation that I understood nothing about how she must have felt until I was a mum.. I cherish that understanding and use it to have greater compassion for my own kids and their feelings and thoughts.. For me.. what I remember most about my mum are her hugs.. mainly the smell and feel of her hugs.  So as we approach mothers day..

I have written this to encourage mums without mums to remember their mums, the best parts of their mums, the best parts of themselves.. because that is all that is really worth remembering.. and that is really the best way to honour her.. Happy Mothers Day Mum xx

mum has passed poem


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4 responses to “If mum could see you now : How to Honour Her”

  1. Kelly says:

    Having said goodbye to my mum five years ago, this article strikes a place in my heart that I rarely go to. Did I do enough in her final moments? Did I say the right things, ask the right questions? We never truly appreciate what we have until it is gone. But I believe that Mums are wise enough to understand and forgive these moments and the decisions that we, their children may make, and all Mums know that the time will come when we too will have that wisdom and insight for our children. Thank you for writing such a personal story. It is reassuring to know I am not alone along this path 🙂

  2. Alison says:

    Ngaire, that was beautiful. I lost my mum 19 years ago tonight. I find it hard every year, the memories don’t seem to go away. I have two adult kids and one 13yo, two youngest never knew their grandma and the eldest was only 18month when she past. I was a big 5months pregnant. I have tried to let my kids know who she was, what she did. I have thought of planting a rose in her honour but have now moved interstate three times. At least the final home has violets all around in August her birthday so I get a small vase each year. I use to write to her when I got really down.

  3. Michelle Moore says:

    Well Ngaire, you have given me tearsand goosebumps to boot.
    I feel your pain, your droplet of guilt. I have travelled a similar journey hunny. I lostmymum 5 years ago. I was only 30 and had a 4 mth old so my life was so busy and crazy. Mum had been battling Ovarian cancer for 11 years and it came back 13 times!!!!!!!!! One strong woman. She just kept beating the odds. I thought this was just another one of those times where she would be home soon. She was always in hospital. So I just thought it was one of those times.
    But I am damn sure I will to remember my amazingmum. She had a very hard life and she needs to rest in peace as far as I am concerned. My child call her grave ‘Nannies Garden’. I have told them how much she loved her garden and flowers.

    We talk abot her so often and the awesome lady she was.
    I miss her so much everyday but I can now thankfully look back and think how much I love her and how so very lucky I am to have had the most beautiful mum in the world.
    She is so very loved and so very missed.
    She will always have that super special place in my heart. Some days I sit and think snap outta the dream Shell you can surely just pick up the phone and call her. Can feel so unreal that she is gone. But I have to realise that she fought to god damn hard and as much as I know she did not want to leave this world she so deserved her peace.

    In memory of my beautiful Mum Sue. Aged 61 years.♥♥♥♥

    • then you and I share something that many will never (thankfully) understand. the loss everyday is so like it was yesterday yet I miss her like it was forever – xxx big hugs michelle xx

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