On this day last year we received a call telling us to go straight to the hospice, that Mum’s breathing had changed and we should go immediately to say goodbye. We didn’t get there in time, and were greeted with a white ribbon on the door to her room.

Her death wasn’t really on that day – she hadn’t really been alive for a while and she hadn’t been happy or herself for a very long time. So for me, the 19th of April is about her being finally free and at peace. In many ways this day represents new beginnings for the rest of us, and an end to her suffering.

It’s been an amazing and chocka-block year full of new memories, but always with that background ache. Daily, I think of something I should email her about and have to remember she’ll never get it. Missing the fourth cup of coffee a little more than usual today, but hugely thankful for the little triangle I now call my family.

It feels a world ago that we lost the you that wasn’t really you, and even longer ago that you began to slip away from us. You will be in the thoughts of so many, all around the world, today – because you were kind of amazing! Today is a chance to remember past the dying woman in the hospice – to the wise, witty and wonderful mummy you were before – and to remind ourselves YOLO. Carpe diem!

if you feel like blubbing, check out the beautiful anthem inscribed for Mum by James Whitbourn, sung by the choir of King’s College Cambridge:

and here’s the poem I wrote and gave to Mum in the last month of her life:

A poem for my mother

When you lose ‘perhaps’,

The world falls apart.

When ‘maybe’ is gone,

There’s no chance to restart.

When ‘one day’ becomes now,

And now is it all,

Suddenly life seems quite tangible,

Really quite small.

Today is everything,

Possibilities end here.

There is no future,

There is no next year.

Tomorrow’s not certain,

And neither’s next week.

A once-dazzling ‘one day’

Shrinks eternally bleak.

When you live life in hope,

And that hope is then lost,

The only solace I can offer you

Is that my love will last.

My love has no future,

It is pure; it is now.

It will follow you anywhere

And this is my vow.


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