Saying goodbye to my Mam

Whilst everyone else including myself was winding down and looking forward to having the next day off for Easter, my poor mother was dying. This wasn’t the first time that she had suffered from cancer or had serious operations as she had done on and off for about 13 years.  Like before, she had been expected to make a full recovery.  Her operation had been declared a complete success as had the other aspects of her treatments but it seems that this was one chemotherapy too many. She had been unwell for a few days but there was no obvious sign that anything majorly wrong was occurring and on Thursday 28th March 2013, exactly 2 weeks after her 63rd birthday, my dearest Mam died.

Not living at home it was with great surprise that we received a call with the bad news.  Could it possibly be for real?  Of course it was, nobody makes these calls for a joke.

How could it happen, she was so well and for a mother, so young.  Not even at retirement age.  Our kindly neighbour drove us over to my parents house where the paramedics were still there.  They had fought for 45 minutes to save her life but it was to no avail.

We waited downstairs until they left after which a doctors visited to confirm her death.  Once the commotion had subsided we decided to go upstairs and see my mother.  Having seen a number of dead bodies in my time and not expecting a pretty sight, it was still a horrendous shock considering just an hour earlier we were watching a comedy on TV and looking forward to a fun weekend.  She looked in a very, very bad way and not at all like the mother I had known for 39 years.  Eyes and mouth wide open and discoloured, she looked like she had died years ago rather than not much more than a few minutes earlier.

Everyone took a few moments to take in a scene before one by one leaving, no-one quite being able to come to terms with events or even say a word.  I would have liked to have kissed her on her forehead as I had my grandparents but sadly the sight was too awful and so I simply kissed my hand and tapped it on her legs that were under the blanket.

The undertakers were called and at about 1am we went back home, there not being much more to do or say on the matter,  It was a very long and sleepless night, the first of many in which my eyes ran and I quietly sobbed my way through the dark hours with the daytime hours being pretty much similar.

Due to Easter being a 4 day national holiday in the U.K. all the normal facilities were shut down and it took a few days before we learned that a post-mortem would have to be held so we were all in a a limbo of misery.

I was immediately inundated by texts, messages emails and even on this blog, dozens and dozens of commiserations.  A few days later cards started to arrive in the post.  I put them on the shelf next to a thank-you card that my Mam had given me just over a week earlier to say thank-you for her birthday treat, an all expenses spared high tea and sandwiches at the nearby and extremely exclusive Grove Hotel,

I read every card, text, message and email a dozen times or more.  I started doing file searches to find the few emails that my mother had written to me.  There wasn’t very many as she wasn’t that good with computers and besides she was round at our house at least once if not several times a week.

I felt lonely and sad and cried at least a little each day from March 28th until at least now.  It was especially sad as I hadn’t got the chance to say goodbye or tell her that I loved her or hear that she loved me.  And now I will never hear it again.  It seems hard to believe that I will go for the rest of my life which may be reasonably be expected to be between 30 and 60 years without ever seeing her again for good times and bad.  For everyone else things will go on as before but for me they never can and I’m not sure I would want them to anyway.

It seems particularly unfair these days when so many people live past their 70’s and into their 80’s at least.  Many people who consoled me are the age of my mother and they still have theirs.

Finally the postmortem was completed and the body was released.  We worked like crazy to arrange the funeral.  Everywhere was busy and backed up due to the Easter holidays.  Our first choice church not longer had the Vicar we knew as he had recently retired and the whole church was in a state of limbo, it didn’t seem right to hold a service there.  The second church we tried was very helpful but the vicar was going on holiday in two days so we had to discount that one sadly but we are grateful for her help.

Beautiful St. Pauls Church Langelbury

St Pauls Church Langleybury @ Hunton Bridge with the very helpful Revd Ysmena Pentelow

The second church tried was The Church of St Lawrence in Abbots Langley.  This turned out to be the worst church any of us had known.  They were unhelpful, unfriendly, unprofessional and unsympathetic,  Despite many calls and even a visit to their office, we are still waiting a call back from them nearly a month on.  We should have guessed as we had heard bad rumours about that church from people who live close by to it but choose to worship elsewhere.

St Lawrences Church Abbots Langley

A beautiful village church with an absolutely rude and disrespectful vicar Revd. Dr Jo Spreadbury at St Lawrence Church in Abbots Langley. A more “unchristian” person it would be hard to meet, except she did every possible not to meet us so we’ll hopefully never know.

Finally we approached one of the churches we attend sporadically, All Saints Church in Leavesden, the village where we live.  It is a beautiful church on the outside and inside with a lovely congregation and a Vicar whom we all found outstanding.  He agreed instantly to help us and so that was that sorted.

All Saints Church in Leavesden.

All Saints Church in Leavesden, designed by renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott who also designed many more famous buildings in London and throughout the U.K. (over 800 in fact)

I hurriedly wrote a letter to express some private words of thanks and love and sorrow, an almost impossible job to compress a lifetime of feelings into 2 pages.  I put the letter in an envelope and sealed it with a kiss.

The day before my Mams funeral we went to see her in the Chapel of Rest. Everyone took there turns and from what I can tell most cried their eyes out.  I know I did, more than once.  The undertakers had made a good job with my Mam, she was looking herself again, more or less and if it can be said, looked pretty.  I even took a photo, not that I imagine I will look at it very often.

A love letter sent from the heart

No matter how much I wrote, I would be leaving so much more unsaid.

Throughout the intervening 2 weeks lots of people had said that they had felt her presence but I hadn’t done which I tho9ught was a bit sad.  Unexpectedly something amazing happened.  I had been in the room for about 15 minutes when I decided to touch her hands.  I did this a little gingerly for I remembered the feeling of my Grandad when he had died, freezing cold.  Anyway at the precise second that my hand touched hers both of the twin lights in the room flickered off!  I was astounded and not a little bit happy. It is something I will remember always as if she was giving me a message there and then that she was here and loved me.

My mother was always in to ghosts and supernatural occurrences such as this and it was the sort of thing that we must have talked about many times.  There were also a witness to this which means I know I didn’t imagine it.

I stoked her finger.  It felt exactly the same as I remembered it, knowing the exact contours and skin markings by touch except of course she was very cold.   I then kissed her on her forehead and placed my letter besides her and said my goodbyes.

Next up we went to see the Vicar to discuss the service.  Most of it was at the suggestion of my Dad with a bit of input from the vicar.

The next day was the funeral, it was two weeks since she had died.  The recent prolonged and freezing winter had begun to turn to spring in the last 2 days forcing a change of what I was going to wear.  Out went the smart coat and in came a very smart looking black waistcoat.  I know my Mam would have said how smart I was looking and given me a kiss.

The funeral was set for 2pm though it was a little late due to traffic problems near our house.  The undertakers stood at attention as the hearse drove past and for the first 200 metres the lead undertaker walked in front of the cortège with his top hat, old fashioned black suit and wooden cane with a silver handle.

We followed the coffin into the church and to my surprise it was over half full with 50 or 60 people present.  We went to sit at the front with my Mams coffin on display in front of the altar.  The vicar gave a short sermon and hymns were sung including her favourite ‘Morning Has Broken’ and ‘Those in Peril On The Sea’ in deference to the many round the world trips my parents had before I was born.  The Vicar told the attended crowds how indeed I had my origins in the tropical pacific island of Bali and the story told many times to myself of how she found out she was pregnant with me on an Aboriginal reserve at Groote Eylandt (Australia) having climber 40 feet down a rope ladder outside a cargo ship and into a local log canoe, only to do the reverse trip with a beaming smile on a face on learning I was on my way.  With an origin like that, it makes little wonder that I have a niche for bizarre travel tales myself.

All Saints Church In Leavesden where we were fortunate to meet the kind and helpful Assistant Priest, Martin Brown.

All Saints Church In Leavesden where we were fortunate to meet the kind and helpful Assistant Priest, Martin Brown.

It must be said that all I could hear around were people crying throughout the service but I didn’t cry once.  Instead I sung my heart out all the way through.  I had cried enough before hand and knew I would afterwards, as indeed I have.  Below is a copy of the readings which the Vicar said.

Susan Liddell

Susan was a Cumbrian girl, born in Carlisle in 1950 but spent her formative years in West Cumberland in a village called Seaton.  Her father was a Postal & Telegraph Officer in Workington.

Now the Post Office had a rambling and fell walking club and by the grand age of nine years the peaks of the Lake District were rolling off her tongue. Great Gable, Sca Fell, Helvelyn . . . she knew them all. She accompanied her dad and a close friend of his, Percy Kelly. Percy and her dad had both joined the Post Office at the same time as telegraph boys. Susan and her dad often went for tea on Sundays with Mr Kelly. Remember his name.

Susan’s mother used to tell her stories of the Glenn Miller Band and how she used to like the smooth, creamy voice of the Miller Band lead singer, a certain Johnny Desmond. Remember his name.

Susan eventually left school and started work, for three or four years. Then she met and fell in love with Graham, a handsome young engineer. Well, he was handsome in those days!

But Graham wasn’t just any engineer, he was a marine engineer in the Merchant Navy. They were married in 1971. Three weeks later Susan found herself on a ship in Bristol, for Graham was allowed to let Susan come with him on his next voyage. A four month cruise he promised her; to Denmark, the Caribbean and America. Well, she went to all of these places, and more. The months rolled by to six, seven, eight, nine . . .  visiting Panama, Japan, U.S.A. (again), Mexico, Japan (again), Australia and South Africa. The poor girl had never been away from home for more than a week or so.

You would be forgiven for thinking that was the end of the matter but, after being in her new house for only five weeks, Graham was asked if he would join a ship in Vancouver, bound for Japan. Of course Graham said yes – but only if Susan could come with him! So Susan packed her bags again and off she went.

It was on this voyage that she became pregnant with Stephen. She had her pregnancy test at a remote island off the north coast of Australia. A boat was being sent to collect her. When someone shouted ‘It’s here’ she went to look over the side. She saw a dug-out canoe, crewed by two aborigines, dressed only in loin cloths! The hospital was a mission station, run by two Irish nuns. Susan returned a couple of hours later with a beaming smile. Even the fifty foot climb up a rope ladder didn’t bother her.

A short while after they arrived home, Graham gave up the sea; he wanted to be with Susan and watch his son grow up. The years passed and Gareth arrived. Susan now had three men in her life, she loved them all, so much.

Time passed and she developed a fondness for 1940’s music; Glenn Miller’s in particular. After a year or so she came to love the voice of the lead singer . . .  yes, the very same Johnny Desmond.

Susan then began to collect Johnny’s records, eventually accumulating 650 recordings! One day she was bidding on eBay for a little bracelet that was given away at one of Johnny’s television shows in the late 1950’s.

An email arrived saying that a friend of Johnny’s family wanted to secure this unique item as a present for a family member! Susan was in a quandary; she did want the bracelet herself but her curiosity was overwhelming. Susan withdrew from the auction. A month or so later an email arrived from the U.S.A. It was from Johnny’s daughter, thanking her for her kindness. This was to be the beginning of a close and longstanding friendship, with Susan eventually spending several holidays in California with Johnny’s daughter Diane, and his sister Toni. So close was their friendship that Toni agreed to be Susan’s ‘Aunt’ too. Sadly, Susan’s mum didn’t survive to see this friendship occur – but I’m quite sure she would have been totally astounded!

Susan’s life has been so full of similar happenings or coincidences that I don’t have time to tell of them all. But were they truly coincidences? I couldn’t even begin to explain them.

Susan’s life was always filled with love. Love for the three men in her life, her family, her friends. Unfortunately she was struck with breast cancer in 2000. But she was also a very strong woman and fought this malignancy every step of the way. She survived all the treatments that were thrown at her.

Sadly, she was again diagnosed with breast cancer last November. Needless to say, she fought this terrible disease; but the cure was as hurtful as the illness. The chemotherapy was just too much, even for Susan, to bear.

Did you know that every night, before she went to sleep, she asked Graham for a cuddle . . . and said ‘I love you, hubbubs’ (her pet name for him) and he would reply ‘I love you too, Suse’. They never, ever, went to sleep on an argument.

The afternoon that Susan passed, she drifted in and out of consciousness.  In her last lucid moment, she put her hand out to Graham who was always with her, and said ‘I love you, hububs’. And, of course, you know the reply!

Susan had a birthday two weeks before she passed, Graham had been wondering for many weeks what to give as a present. He’d found an engraving of a Lake District scene, made by a Cumbrian – a close friend of Winston Churchill – apparently the artist had died about twenty years ago. It was a nice picture, Susan would like it, but Graham had never heard of the artist.

But Susan had! Yes, it was Percy Kelly!

Dear Graham, Stephen, Gareth, Friends. 
Susan finished her work on earth, and left the stage in a manner that
leaves those of us left behind with a cry of agony in our hearts, as the  fragile thread of our faith is dealt with so violently. Is anyone strong  
enough to stay conscious through such teaching as you are receiving?  
Probably very few. And even they would only have a whisper of equanimity and peace amidst the screaming trumpets of their rage, grief, horror and  desolation.  
I can’t assuage your pain with any words, nor should I. For your pain is  Susan’s legacy to you. Not that she or I would inflict such pain by choice,  but there it is. And it must burn its purifying way to completion. For  something in you dies when you bear the unbearable, and it is only in that  dark night of the soul that you are prepared to see as God sees, and to love  as God loves. 
Now is the time to let your grief find expression. No false strength.  
Now is the time to sit quietly and speak to Susan, and thank her for being  with you these few years, and encourage her to go on with whatever her work  is, knowing that you will grow in compassion and wisdom from this experience.  
In my heart, I know that you and she will meet again and again, and  
recognize the many ways in which you have known each other. And when you  meet you will know, in a flash, what now it is not given to you to know: Why  this had to be the way it was.  
Our rational minds can never understand what has happened, but our hearts – if we can keep them open to God – will find their own intuitive way.  Susan came through you to do her work on earth, which includes her manner of  death. Now her soul is free, and the love that you can share with her is  invulnerable to the winds of changing time and space. In that deep love,  include me.  
In love,

Following the service we met friends and family outside the old church.  If there was any good point to the whole day it was that I met family members I hadn’t seen since the mid 1980’s.  They had come from as far as Greece, Inverness in northern Scotland, Cumbria and Southport near Liverpool.  I have to say some of them I didn’t recognise at first but I got lots of welcome hugs and much comment was made of how much I had grown since last they had seen me.

We then made the short journey to the West Herts Crematorium where a much shorter service was held with some more prayers, bible readings, a hymn.  The service was book-ended by music from her favourite singer, Johnny Desmond who both she and much earlier, her mother (my Grandma) had taken a liking to.  Liking is too mild a word for it, I would say totally obsessed but as obsessions go it was a relatively good one to have.  Several years ago my Mam made her own simple website devoted to Johnny Desmond and later became friends with his family, one of whom sent me a card from California.

Once outside, a collection was made on behalf of Macmillians Cancer, the Undertakers mentioned that it was the largest collection they had seen for many years.  If anyone cares to contribute then they are welcome to let me know.

By now the sun was out and we headed off to a local pub where a small buffet was held.  I got the chance to give directions to an Aunty and Uncle I had not seen for about 25 years which was nice and later I got to chat to several more as well as old neighbours where I had grown up and not really seen for the last 7 or 8 years.  Everyone was of the opinion that my Mam was pretty much the nicest person they had met and many thought I was the person who had most of her characteristics.

So that was that, 2 weeks ago as this blog is published.  I will probably write one further personal posting in a few weeks or months time.   I’d like to say that things have improved but a month after her death, I can’t really say that it had.  It seems that life has pretty much gone back to normal, for everyone else at least, but not for me and I’m not even sure it should at least not yet.  I’d still like to see her one last time and to hear her tell me that she loves me and is proud of me even though with a happy marriage to a girl she adored, a degree and Masters Degree, a book published and another one on the way, I am fairly sure I have good reason to believe she is.

I went back to the church a few days later to try and take some photos of the interior but the roof is collapsing and in need of serious emergency repairs so I had to plead with the warden to be allowed quick access to take these photos for this blog.

All Saints Church Altar

All Saints Altar with stained glass window, taken from the spot where my Mam had laid a few days earlier.

All Saints Interior

Most of the lights were off as the church was shut.

All Saints Knave

Looking back from the Altar down the knave past the pews towards the entrance.

All Saints Front Porch

Where I met friends and family after the service.

It was a terribly cold and dull day when I went back to the church and I remember feeling saddened that I could dwell in it for longer so after I left I took this photo of the front.  Despite the dismal almost misty weather, to my surprise when I looked at this photo for the first time last time I saw a bright white light next to the porch?!? My Mam would have said it was the spirit of someone special watching over me and it is true that out of the 1,438 photos on my iPod, this is the only one with such a glare.

I still cry every day, and feel lonely.  I even have a favourite tune to cry along to in the shower, The Scientist by Coldplay.

The words seem fitting and it was also about the last music video we watched together before I moved out and bought my own place to live.  They say in space no-one can hear you scream but I find in the shower, no-one can hear you cry.

Susan Gwendolyn Liddell March 14th 1950 – March 28th 2013. Rest In Peace my beautiful, kind, sweet little Mama. I’ll miss and love you always. xxxx

I spend a few moments before the funeral with Mams old teddy circa 1950.  Very worn from a lifetime of cuddles and greatly loved.  You can just see the stitching on top of his head when he was burnt by a piece of coal that spat out of the fire.  He was repaired by my Grandad about 60 years ago.

I spend a few moments before the funeral with Mams old teddy circa 1950. Very worn from a lifetime of cuddles and greatly loved. You can just see the stitching on top of his head when he was burnt by a piece of coal that spat out of the fire. He was repaired by my Grandad about 60 years ago.

About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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64 Responses to Saying goodbye to my Mam

  1. grumpydenier says:

    A wonderful blog about a wonderful, fulfilling life. So many good things to look back on.

    My best wishes to you, Stephen.


    • Yes she did lots in her life and I will get used to remembering the good times, days out and holidays. Just 18 months ago we went to Normandy and visited all the beaches and many other things. We went on long walks every evening and spent hours every day for 2 weeks teaching her and playing table tennis in the adjoining barn. She would always laugh so much when the ball bounced off the walls or ceiling that sometimes she would have to dash to the bathroom!


  2. A nice tribute. I still miss my mom seven years after I lost her.


  3. Graham Liddell says:

    Thank you, Steve.
    Did you know that Mam’s teddy bear was called Fred. Looking at him now, ‘Fred Bear’ is the most perfect name for him.


  4. Lysa@MonkeyAndSquish says:

    That was very beautiful.


  5. shilohgirl87 says:

    I lost my grandfather that same weekend, in Mexico they won’t hold the body for more than one or two days so we had to do the service without a church mass. It was pretty difficult for us not to be able to give him that. Thank you for sharing your experience.


  6. Rosemarie says:

    A beautiful eulogy. I feel that I know her.


  7. Stephen, this was a beautiful testament to your mother. What an incredible, strong woman you had for a mom. It is clear she was full of love!

    I am so sorry she passed away in such a tragic way, but I am happy you have and hold onto such dear memories of her. I, too, feel like I know her. Her personality beams off the computer screen as I read your words and the words of the Vicar.

    Your mom will always be a part of you, it seems like she instilled so many great virtues in you. An insatiable sense of adventure through travel, an open mind, and a kind heart. May God Bless you and your family, console you in the hard times, and smile with you as you remember all the great memories you share.


  8. Hi Stephen,
    I have just arrived at your blog after you liked one of my posts, and you have moved me to tears. I am really sorry to hear about your mam. You will always cherish those lovely memories that you shared together. X


  9. I think those moments of connection with your mom after her passing are very the times of meeting again. I have had an astounding experience after the passing of my mom which seems to be just what you would expect her to do…knowing my strong loving (Irish!) mom as i do. It depends on your own personal relationship with your loved one.


  10. marysmemories says:

    Very moving. My condolences on your loss but memories you will always have.Despite you not seeing her she will always be at your side.
    God Bless Mary


  11. A special post, Stephen. My dad is dying. It’s very raw with me so I appreciate this.


  12. J. G. Burdette says:

    Touching post, Stephen.


  13. I feel your pain, I cried my way through your tribute to your Dear Mom. You were blessed to have each other. I am still trying to say good-bye to my own Mom since she passed on 2-20-12. I keep praying for peace to fill my emptiness. ~ I pray peace will fill your empty spaces too.


  14. dorysworld says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss but what a beautiful tribute to your mam and such a testament to the relationship you had with her. My very best wishes


  15. Carrie Lange says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, hugs to you and your family. Sounds like a wonderful women who made a great impact on the world. beautiful post.


  16. chrisla912 says:

    Your post is a beautiful testimony to your mother. I am so sorry for your loss.


  17. Mike Crape says:

    It is a tearful read and I thank you for sharing Stephen. You are blessed to have such incredible Love in your life from a woman that has given you her heart and her Love for life.


  18. What a beautifully written piece. I’m so sorry that there were so many additional stresses added to an already stressful time, and so glad there was a vicar who came through for you. Thank you for taking the time to share your story. My heart goes out to you and yours.


  19. jadereyner says:

    A moving tribute to someone so dear to all of you. Taken from this world, far too young.


  20. planetheavenpr says:

    Beautifully written and brought back memories of when I lost my own mum to this terrible disease, thank you for sharing such an intimate time in your life,

    Very best wishes


  21. iberostar says:

    No one ever loves you like your mother. I know she is looking out for you, her son. We always share a special love – mothers and sons. Warm thoughts are coming your way.


  22. Pure Glory says:

    Stephen, your tribute to your mum was extremely moving. The vibrancy of her life shines through your writing. No one can take her place. Your sharing some of her traits, helps keep the heritage she leaves behind alive. My prayers are with you and your family.


  23. kiwiskan says:

    Those of us who have lost a beloved mother share your loss. I have no doubt she is still not far from you


  24. fluffytales says:

    Beautiful tribute. I lost my mum 14 years ago to cancer and I was 21 at the time – she was only 65. I still miss her every day. No one will ever replace your mum. I like to think she is out there somewhere, watching over me. I hope that for you too – you are keeping her memory alive just by writing this piece….


  25. ShimonZ says:

    Losing one’s mother is hard, Stephen, and logic and reason don’t help much in dealing with the situation. I lost my mother this year, and she was over a hundred years old… and I really didn’t think it would be hard for me. She was ready to die, and felt that she had gotten too old. And still, the loss of someone you love, is very painful under any circumstances. It’ll take some time for you to learn to live in a world that doesn’t include your mother anymore… and then perhaps you will have consolation in remembering the good moments. I wish you all the best.


  26. Barbara says:

    What a lovely memorial for your mother. I personally haven’t crossed that bridge. You will ‘feel’ her presence because you will remember things she said and did. We talk about my Dad all the time and he has passed.
    There is no end to memories. While you are still alive, so will your Mam be…….All the best……..


  27. marykirwan says:

    Your post touched a place in me I’ve held quite close and quite closed off for the last three years since my own mother passed away. I was blessed and cursed to be able to care for her in those waning days and as I read your post I was flooded with memories good and bad. Thank you so much for sharing it’s brilliantly beautiful!


  28. chr1 says:

    Sorry for your loss. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, and so well.


  29. Liz Ward says:

    I’m so sorry. Thank you for sharing her story.


  30. aedania says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Sometimes it helps to write about these things, so we can realise that it’s real, and find a way of dealing with it.


  31. Lawrence Bracken says:

    Our deepest condolences Gaz…really sorry for your loss bruv….we’re always here if you need us my bruvver….Loz and Marta


  32. Beautifully shared Stephen. (You have “liked” a few of my posts on my blog and I came here to see yours). I am so sorry to hear of your loss and send you love & light and wishes for eventual peace in your heart. Know that…now you have an angel watching over you whose name you know, and she will forever have her wings spread over you in love and protection. Blessings to you!


  33. As a fellow life passenger with a parent who’s had cancer…I am so very sorry. This piece, so beautiful expressed, shows a love unbound and unending. Your mother seems the type of person who lived not to extend her life, but to enjoy it. She’s obviously done a marvelous job…look at your skill and talent. It’s like her bright hope shining out from you. All my prayers to you.


  34. herapereira says:

    Your mum lived a rich full life. I am sure she is very proud of you and smiling down at you every day. *hugs*


  35. Nicole says:

    I don’t really know what to say… Except for ‘wow’. This was beautiful and heartfelt and I loved every minute of reading it. Thank you for taking the time to share! And I truly am sorry for your loss.


  36. Dear Señor Liddell… I have no clue of what failed when I posted my condolences for your mother’s decease. I remember I talked about my aunt Antonia, who also suffered of breast cancer and also left us last year, when she could not face a fourth duel with the tumors. My last view of her was that of a woman learning how to paint using oil on canvas, showing a huge smile as being proud of painting a flower for my 17 years old niece Rebeca, who was just recovering from the extirpation of a tumor on her brain. She’s still recovering and we are not sure that this blonde angel will ever be the crazy chick she used to be. But there’s always something she will keep in mind.

    My aunt Antonia gave her a proof of inner strength. A lesson of how to live. And for this…. a reason to fight back to life’s cannonballs and challenge them with the smile of a confident warrior who uses her mind and her spirit. Till the end with a smile.

    Reading about your mother made me feel the same way. My aunt and your mother were special human spirits, Stephen … the best lesson we can get from them must be to live life to its fullest, according to our own measures… and spread smiles to make others participate of the adventure of life.

    It’s time to stop crying. Spend a year planning a trip to some Northern Australian Island. And tell us how the stars shine down there. I can’t imagine a better way to honour her life.

    My respects, Señor Liddell.


  37. snowgood says:

    I’m sorry you were let down in your hour of need. The never going to sleep on an argument is a good advert for a successful marriage. I trust the Vicar was able to offer more than just a funeral, a few words from scripture and maybe even bereavement counselling.


  38. Maggie Power says:

    Hello Stephen
    I am sorry for your loss. You write about your mother so eloquently. I know this must be a very difficult I’ve for you. I lost my mom on 29th March 2013 (Good Friday), so I share your pain and grief at this very sad time. Take care,God bless


  39. emmylgant says:

    This is a wonderful tribute to your Mam. I know the emptiness of being a motherless child. May you have peace and solace Stephen.


  40. vam says:

    Nobody can ever be prepared enough for the death of a parent. And, indeed, our being is never the same after, though life about is hardly perturbed. For, one can no longer “be” the child in thought, behaviour or speech anymore … since one can actually be so only in a parent’s presence.

    May she be with God and peace. Time to begin recalling the happy experiences you had with her and to find your strength and joy for life from them.


  41. hermitsdoor says:

    Thank you for such a personal account. “Like” does not seem to be a correct response, though.


  42. That is without doubt the most heartfelt ‘good-bye’ I have ever read. Indeed it stirred memories of my own mother’s recent passing. Thank you.



  43. Boyer Writes says:

    Stephen, interesting that I found your writing about your Mother today….as it is the May 1, 2013 and has been exactly two years since my beautiful mother died. I will visit her grave today, but her beauty is not there…for she had great faith in our Lord Jesus Christ…and I know that she is with Him. I, too, did not get to say a goodbye to my mother. She was 93 and in the hospital. Just that day she had joked with a doctor, eaten her meal and while I was called away to another family member’s needs, I was called that she was passing away. I rushed as quickly as I could to the hospital, but did not make it in time. I regret that I was not there to hold her hand, but things happen that we can not change. I, too, am a mother with four grown children and I know a Mother’s love. Unfortunately, I have one son who has decided not to communicate with the family for no reason that we know of…so I have had many tears of my own. It is lovely to read of the love that you have for your mother and yes, I believe that she knows that. My husband and I just returned to the USA from England which we like so very much and will return again, I’m sure. He is a priest in the Episcopal Church (same as Anglican) and it is such a shame that you ran into the “uncaring” attitudes that you did when trying to find help. My husband often says, it is unbelievable how some men (or women) of the cloth can be so un-pastoral Thankfully, as you found out, there are those who are truly called of God to be vicars and priests. We will appreciate them always. I have often told my husband that if he has an gift of God, it is his compassion to those whose funerals he performs. Let me end with this…you, too, have been given many talents…and your Mother was proud. Use them for good and pray each day in that shower that God will replace the tears with His joy and His will for your life. This is the best tribute that you can give to your Mother. Blessings, Stephen (I also have a Stephen..who is about your age and a wonderful son.).
    Nancy of Boyer Writes See my Mother’s tribute today.


  44. Adeolu says:

    The pain of losing a loved one could be unbearable….we are comforted that we will see them again 1Thes 4:13-18


  45. So much detail; very beautifully written! I was glued until the very end. You are such a unique writer.
    Accept my condolences.


  46. I deeply regret the death of his mother.
    I had my mother with cancer last year, and I may get some idea of how it felt and what his State of mind.
    Words are just that, and only comfort if one is waiting and accepts them. But still, I hope that my expression of regret deems sincere, and encourage you to that with his character and way of being go ahead.


  47. Stephen, I am truly sorry for your loss. You were blessed to have such a Mam as you did. That kind of loss you never completely get over. I hope the pain will ebb for you, though. I’ll say a prayer for you and your family today.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. That was kind of you.


  48. merrildsmith says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad you have many good memories and had such love for her. She sounds like a wonderful woman. I know you will always miss her.


  49. I could feel the love pouring out of your words here. What a beautiful tribute to your mam. See, I think she is looking over your shoulder. I loved the church, and that you got to see relatives from so far away. Your mam was well loved. Take it day by day, Stephen. They say it gets easier, or that at least you learn to live with it. Don’t forget, she is watching you, and I know she must be proud of you.


  50. Ren says:

    Beautiful. Lovely tibute.


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