GET A LIFE: Here’s to you, mum!

Posted: May 13, 2012 at 1:16 am


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Your strengths arent where you think they are, mum would say

I miss my mum so much. To cope and survive, all its been for the past 24 years is patching the gap, disguising the wounds. So here goes. Mum, this is a tribute to your memory. Your daughter will always look up to you and love you.

Losing her year-long battle with cancer, mum passed away on Sept 1, 1988 at 10.20pm. She was only 48. Mum was tall 1.7 metre. She worked out regularly, was fit, and was never ill a day in her life. She dressed fashionably.

The cancer (or rather the handling of the disease) ravaged her spirit, turning her from a vivacious, glamorous, and energetic woman into a meek, fearful, and defeated person. I would often go to the crowded hospital ward, waiting for her doctors to do their rounds. I would stand there and insist on speaking with the oncologist, radiologist, and all the caregivers so that wed know what was happening to mum.

What did the symptoms mean? Why those tests, why those drugs, and what to do about the effects they had on mum? I remember my sister ringing me up and me going numb upon receiving the news. I wasnt home much as we travelled a lot on business and until today I wish I had been by her side more throughout her ordeal. She never asked being the selfless, self-sacrificing soul that she was, but I know it. The experience of raising my own children has made me understand the completeness of a mothers love... and a mothers yearning to be close with her babies, especially in a crisis.

Throughout the journey home, I kept thinking, Why hadnt I been there? How could I have left her when she needed me most? I was tormented by guilt. Mummy, please forgive me. My deepest values, everything I understand about the meaning of life and the wonder of living, I derived from my mum. She was my guardian angel, my teacher, and disciplinarian. She was my best friend my cheerleader, my defender, my protector. Growing up, it was mostly mum.

From my early teenage years, my dad worked in another town. Mum, my sister, brother and I only saw him on weekends. So you could say that she was a single mum, raising three growing children on her own. There was great celebration when dad came home. Afternoon tea was a tradition in our house, the family would gather and yarn about what went on during the week.

I remember a lot of laughter. Mum made it safe for us to speak up, to be expressive. She was forthright and candid and that gave us permission to be ourselves. Then I went away to college and coming home was always something I looked forward to, a time to let down my hair.

What does it cost you to be obedient and inauthentic? What would I lose if I gave up my Self to conform in exchange for acceptance and approval? Every time I compromise, I suffer the most. Every time I forget my upbringing who I really am and where I come from I run aground. This is what I know for sure because of her.

Your strengths arent where you think they are, mum would say. How I wish Id trusted her more, paid more attention to her lessons, which were always subtle and loving, never obvious or abrasive. That I work in coaching and mentoring today, is because of you, mum. That I champion womens development is because of how you inspired me. That I fight for equality, mutual respect, freedom, and esteem for womens role in our community is a candle I light in your honour.

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GET A LIFE: Here’s to you, mum!

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May 13th, 2012 at 1:16 am

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