I became a motherless daughter in June 2018 when my mum, Joanne died at the age of 60. I was 31 years old and was on maternity leave looking after my two young children. Her death was not unexpected, she had been unwell for many years. However, you can never prepare yourself for the moment someone leaves your world suddenly and not having her positive presence in my life was devastating. She was the rock of our family, the glue that held everything together, and suddenly she wasn't there anymore and the prospect of moving through life without her was too much to bear.
I was very blessed to have a childhood filled with unconditional love from both my parents. I idolised my mum. She was so intelligent and kind. I was also very blessed to have a best friend in my mum. She was the person I could count on always - for love, care, advice and a helping hand.
As I got older, I remember mum having a lot of health problems. In 2011, the year I was getting married, I remember mum and dad coming over for dinner one night and they told us that mum had a rare autoimmune condition called Churg-Strauss Syndrome. The condition was well advanced and incurable. The doctors couldn't give her any definitive answers, but her life expectancy would be significantly reduced, and there was the possibility she would die within 12 months.
My world came crashing down at that moment and if I'm honest, I started to grieve her death from that moment on. The life I had imagined with my mum would no longer be a possibility. After my wedding that year, she was hospitalised for a severe infection and was put on permanent oxygen, which she was on until the day she died.
We nearly lost her a few times over the next 7 years, but she was so strong and she fought as long as she could. We had so many wonderful times together during those 7 years and she tried to live life to the fullest despite her condition and she was always so grateful for the blessings in her life.
Her health declined dramatically in December 2017 and within a few months she was unable to leave the house. The last few months of her life were cruel. She was in so much pain and discomfort and she struggled with the fact that she wanted the pain and suffering to be over, but at the same time she wasn't ready to leave this world. She died at home on June 12, 2018 with my dad and brother at her side. I had seen her that day but wasn't there when she passed away.
In the months after my mum's death, I wrote a children's book as a dedication to my mum and a way for my children to remember their Nana. The story is about my son and his quest to discover where his Nana has gone after her death. The story is designed to help young children explore the concept of the afterlife in a sensitive and magical way, whilst touching on the range of emotions a child may experience when a loved one passes away. This year, I was extremely lucky to find out that my book was accepted for publication and I am currently in the process of working with the publisher and an illustrator to bring the story to life. The book will be published in early 2020.
I hope my story is inspiring for other motherless daughters who are struggling to find their way through grief. Life still holds many blessings, even though they may not be as sweet without your mum to share them with. It's important to focus on being the best version of yourself, because that's what your mum would want - she would want to see you thrive!