Mother lode

It’s common to speak of the recently deceased as if they were a saint, but my mother, who died on January 12, actually was one. Mum may not have invented the concept of ‘keep calm and carry on’, but she embodied it, sailing serenely and smilingly through the storms of life, especially those brought about by having 10 children.

Mum may have been saintly but she wasn’t dull. She was charming, funny, quick-witted, well-read, well-travelled and well-dressed (except when in her motley collection of gardening clothes or in the various ‘idiot’ hats she wore to the beach). She was also a fabulous cook, both inventive and adventurous. When most of my school friends were eating meat and three veg, we were eating dishes mum had discovered on her travels or in books. When failing health meant she was taken into care last year she told my sister that the rest home food wasn’t bad, “but it definitely needed condiments”.

Last week, as our family gathered to farewell mum, we spent a lot of time sitting around the table that has been the scene of so many meals, conversations and celebrations; laughing, crying, talking.

Mum and Dad should have been there; one standing on the other side of the kitchen bench looking for their wine glass, the other telling us we were making too much noise. Their days, as their headstone will read, “were filled with gladness”. Now all we can wish for is that they are reunited, enjoying a gin and tonic and talking about what to have for dinner.




  1. January 23, 2012 / 1:45 am

    oh babe I'm so sorry for your loss, I lost my mum when I was only a baby so I can't write a list of why she was so wonderful, you can and thats a real gift x thinking of you

  2. January 23, 2012 / 6:31 am

    sorry for your loss and send you and your family warm wishes

  3. January 23, 2012 / 6:42 am

    your mum sounds utterly awesome, what a beautiful tribute to her. My thoughts are with you and your family xx

  4. January 23, 2012 / 9:17 am

    So now we know where you got your gorgeous smile! Being 'filled with gladness' sounds to me like a wonderful state to live your life in so thanks to your folks for inspiring me to do the same. See you tomorrow … K x

  5. January 23, 2012 / 9:24 am

    So sorry for the loss of your lovely Mum. You wrote a beautiful tribute. I've lost my Mum too, and it has taken years for me to stop thinking "Oh I will just ring Mum and ask her how she cooks that"
    I hope you inherit her recipe books, and I hope there are many many special dishes (and condiments!) you can cook to remind you of her.

  6. January 23, 2012 / 10:17 am

    Oh Lucy. I think I know how you feel, I lost my mum in 2008 and it's still a little raw. It's lovely to have such fond and happy memories of your time with her though. She looks sweet with your father, so happy together.

    It must be wonderful to be part of such a lovely big family and be able laugh together at this time and share tales of all those good times.

    Look after yourself. Thinking of you and your family.

  7. January 23, 2012 / 11:55 am

    I send you and all your family my condolences and best wishes.
    You have written a beautiful tribute to her. It's painful I know but to grieve means that we truly loved….

    I lost my mum just two years ago and it still makes my heart heavy. I miss her so….

    My father passed away when I was only 16 years old, so she was on her own for over 33 years. I like to think that they are finally reunited and dancing together at last 😀

  8. January 23, 2012 / 1:41 pm

    Lucy, what a lovely post. Not only is it sentimental, it's also funny and uplifting. Take care of you and yours x

  9. January 23, 2012 / 2:24 pm

    Oh Lucy! What a year you've had. I'm so sorry. I hope you and your siblings (how many!?) are doing ok.

  10. January 23, 2012 / 2:47 pm

    OMG, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about you!… I went onto your blog to see if you'd posted anything recently and noticed you hadn't and was about to send a tweet but thought better of it…. and now I know why… I am SO sorry for your loss, it must be horrid. I wish you much love and hope your many fond memories of your mum keep you in happy thoughts for a long time… now go and bake something devistatingly sweet and eat it in your mothers honour! xxx

  11. January 23, 2012 / 3:52 pm

    What a wonderfully written and loving post… Your parents sound wonderful and I am so glad you can remember them with such love and have so many happy memories. xx

  12. January 23, 2012 / 5:49 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to your mom. My condolences to you and your family.

  13. January 23, 2012 / 7:27 pm

    So sorry to hear your news, my love and thoughts are with you and your family. Such a lovely tribute to your Mum.

  14. January 23, 2012 / 10:25 pm

    I'm sorry to hear this sad news. A beautiful post. Thinking of you.

  15. January 24, 2012 / 5:49 pm

    Thank you all for your kind words, I really appreciate them. When my dad died I felt like the news should be on the front page of every newspaper in the country, and when an obit was published it really seemed to help. You might have to bear with me while I write a lot about my Mum instead.

  16. January 24, 2012 / 10:42 pm

    Aw Lucy, I'm really sorry. This is a beautiful post. Your Mum sounds amazing and the photographs stunning. That last photo of your Mum and Dad looking so happy makes me want to be like that. xx

  17. January 27, 2012 / 2:08 am

    This is wonderful Lucy. Your Mum looks so beautiful. Bless you.. bless you xoxox

  18. February 1, 2012 / 1:27 am

    This brought tears to my eyes – I'm very sorry for your loss.
    I really like your blog too, please keep posting.

  19. February 2, 2012 / 5:46 am

    Lucy I am very sorry to hear of your loss, your mother was obviously a wonderful person. I am reminded how short life is and will give my kids an extra hug when I go to bed tonight. Much love x Jasmine

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