Finding Support

Claire's story: I am a motherless daughter

I do believe I can grow around my grief though, like Mum grew around her illness, and like I have grown, somehow, after her passing. Even though I didn’t think I wanted to, or that it was possible.

Portrait of a Motherless Daughter
I am a ‘Motherless Daughter’. My mum was everything to me. She still is. 

Mum was warm and strong and beamed with unconditional love.
I’m lucky to have known her. 
Lucky to have her as mine. My mum.

I grew and she guided.
We chatted, laughed and cried.
She would stroke my hair and for such a long time, I never had to consider what life would be like without her. My heart and mind didn’t have the space to allow the thought of her not being around. 
It was a comfortable and wonderful bliss.
She was Mum. My mum.
I choose to remember her this way.

I was 23 when Mum phoned to tell me it was cancer. To tell me that although there were things that could be done for now, for a while, nothing long term was likely to stick.
It had gone too far. 
Five years was the top of an impossibly short timeline. She and I hadn’t gone far enough. 
Not yet. We never would. 
Five years. 
My mum.

She was still Mum though. 
She walked the dogs every day, had holidays, took photos and made plans. 
We still chatted and laughed and cried. 
She still stroked my hair. 
She smiled and loved and lived.
This beautiful, fascinating, warm and loving creature. 
My Mum.
I choose to remember her this way.

I was 28 when she passed away. 
She was surrounded by family and love. 
She was lucky and so was I. 
We all were. We knew so.
She lived for all of those five years, and then a little more. 
Not long enough. It never could have been.
She was 62. I wasn’t ready. 
She was gone. I was broken.
My Mum.

Losing her was horrible. 
My heart was ripped open and the one person that could put it back together was no longer there with me. I was in a vicious cycle of loving and hoping and pleading and hurting. Missing her. Needing her. 
My mum.

Time has changed things for me now though.
Sometimes my grief consumes me so much I feel like I can’t move forward. Sometimes I feel like I can’t move at all. Just an overwhelming need to be still, as moving without her doesn’t feel right, or manageable or fair. Other times I feel like I am able to sing in the shower again, or laugh out loud. Truly, properly laugh. 

These feelings will continue for the rest of my life, but I am prepared for that now. I want them to stay, actually. These feelings are my reminder of who Mum was to me. Her value, her strength, her love. The waves of emotions are just that though. Waves peaking and crashing and then calmly rolling in and out. The waves stay with me as they no longer have a place to go. Now that I can’t chat or laugh with her, or have her stroke my hair.

The pull in my heart when I think about hugging her or touching her hand again often turns to tears. Tears representing love that can’t be expressed in any other way now she’s not here with me. I know the grief of losing Mum isn’t going away. It is what comes after loving someone so deeply. So completely. For having someone love you that much in return. The big, solid, great love of a mother.

I do believe I can grow around my grief though, like Mum grew around her illness, and like I have grown, somehow, after her passing. Even though I didn’t think I wanted to, or that it was possible.

I find light in sharing experiences, both with those who knew my mum, and with people who have also lost theirs. Talking and remembering helps. 

I am part of a very special group filled with women who understand what I have written above and who have their own memories and experiences, many filled with both love and heartache. Each experience is different, but there is a connection between every person in this group. 
We are ‘Motherless Daughters’.

We are here to support and chat and stroke each other’s hair now, whilst remembering our mums and telling our own stories. 

It’s a blessing being here and to have a story to tell. Mine, hers and ours.


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