An awful lot has happened in my life since I last sat down to write a blog post.

To be precise, my wonderful, amazing, strong, determined mother passed away on Friday 11th December, aged 64 years.

It was not unexpected. She’d been in the local hospice for some weeks, where it was increasingly obvious that her body, which for so long had battled on despite major illness and disability, was worn out. She knew the end was coming; my brother and I knew the end was coming. The hospice looked after her beautifully, kindly, with great dignity and compassion, but medically there was no more that could be done.

My brother and I were both with her, which is a blessing so many people have been denied this year. I am very conscious of that – and conscious, too, of how incredible the hospice was. I wanted one more Christmas with her, so we asked the hospice chef how we could arrange that – and he cooked us a roast turkey dinner, with all the trimmings. We had a little Christmas tree – a live one. We put fairy lights up and I bought crackers, so we all had paper hats. Mum even ordered us presents!! So not the point, Mum. But there you go. That was her.

Most of you, I think, are aware that Mum and I lived together. In one stroke, I’ve lost my mum, my best friend and my housemate. I don’t think reality has fully sunk in yet; it feels like she’s just in hospital still, and will be home soon. There’s so much to do, as well, which in a funny way is helpful. I’m keeping busy because I have to keep busy. There’s stuff that doesn’t have to be done yet, like this blog post, but I want to, because time stretches out in funny ways when I don’t have the next job lined up, the next phone call or email or decision.

She taught me how to crochet. Not much – chain stitch, single crochet, double crochet. I learned more elsewhere. But she started me on the journey. And she encouraged me to design. She supported me, helped me, laughed at me when I ripped things out because it wasn’t ‘right’, and she was so, so proud of everything I accomplished. She was the only reason I began experimenting with freeform crochet, with The Starry Night. That was her Christmas present, a few years ago. It’s hanging in the living room now, and I can look up at it and remember how she just kept saying ‘wow’. I look at ‘Kaleidoscope’ and remember us choosing the alternate colourways together. The key square in the centre of ‘The Secret Garden’ was her idea. She is knotted in to all of my work.

It feels unendingly awful that she won’t see any more of my designs, or even just any other projects I do.

But at the same time, I will carry her with me for the rest of my life. I know that. She is with me because she is part of me, and always will be.

It’s going to be a strange Christmas. My brother is staying with me at least until the new year, and probably longer, but we both feel we’ve had our Christmas already. I have a tree, and we’ll have a small roast dinner (because his roast potatoes are divine and I refuse to skip them!), but I think mostly we’ll just curl up and watch Christmas telly. We have lots of friends and neighbours rallying around us – which so far means two chocolate cakes, flapjack, a butternut squash wellington, a raspberry crumble, and some lovely, lovely cards from Mum’s Quaker Meeting. We’re not going to be alone if we don’t want to be. Obviously social distancing is still necessary (my brother is immuno-compromised and I have ME; neither of us want covid) but we’ll figure it out.

I want to finish this post by showing you a photo. It’s of a plaster cast that we made in the hospice with a lady who does art therapy there, with their day patients and palliative patients. Me and my brother, holding Mum’s hand. It was a really lovely idea, and it’s a really lovely thing to have. I’m so glad of it.

She’ll be holding my hand forever. My brilliant mum.


21 thoughts on “

  1. Condolences to you and your brother – your memories will be there forever to remind you of the times you had with your Mother. I find as time goes by I remember more and more things about my Mother.

    Like

  2. Thank you for your post, made me cry.
    So sorry. You have beautiful memories of your Mum. I lost mine over 3 years ago, she showed me how to knit. Gave me a love of sewing. She was a crafter.
    You take care and do whatever feels right.
    Love your colourful posts 😊
    Love Val x
    Sent from my iPhone

    Like

  3. Holding you all in the light, I knew your mum very vaguely through the Quaker disability group. I’m so glad that you are being supported and upheld by her Meeting and your friends and neighbours.
    I love the plaster cast, that is such a lovely idea. I have no idea about fragility, but would it be worth getting a cover made to protect it?
    Much love, dawn.

    Like

    1. Just a thought, have you put a notice in The Friend so that people in the wider Quaker circle who knew your mum will be aware? If not, I’m sure someone from the Meeting will organise it. xx

      Like

  4. So sorry to hear of such a sad loss in this horrid year. But the hand sculpture is a most wonderful keepsake, what a lovely idea. Keep strong JK

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  5. I understand your loss. I took care of my dad the lat 10 years of his life because he had Parkinson’s. He passed December, 2012, at home in the care of hospice nurses. They were so wonderful and supportive in his last days and then hours. I and my brother and sister were all there with him at the end of his earthly days.
    I had so much extra time and was able to do so many things that I was unable to do before, but would have gladly traded for more time with my dad.
    Some days, there weren’t enough hours to get things done, some days, I wanted it to be tomorrow because today was too long.
    So, I completely understand your loss.
    There are many people that love you and your amazing art. Hopefully you will be able to get back to making your beautiful crochet work for your friends and fans. We love it and missed you.
    Your mom will never be gone, she will always be in
    your heart and memories.

    Like

  6. Dear Catherine, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. You wrote a wonderful eulogy and the 3 hands together are a wonderful memory.
    My mom passed away 10 years ago, just after turning 65, but as your mother will always be with you, she is always with me. It is a comforting thought.
    I wish you and your brother strength for the coming time, sending all my love to you both, and to your cats who probably are comforting you as much as they can.
    Sincerely,
    Miia

    Like

  7. I am so sorry to hear about your Mom. What a special person she was! I lost my Dad this year and because of COVID, we could only say our goodbye’s through the tablet screen at the hospital. My Mom fell in November breaking her hip and make it through the surgery only to have the bone not healing correctly and will probably need a second surgery. Since she is 93, she will probably refuse and not be able to walk again. Last week she came down with COVID (there is a serious outbreak at the rehab facility where she is). It has been a rough end of a rough year. Your sculpture of her hands in yours is so special. No matter what, my Mom and I always were holding hands. She is far away and I won’t be able to do that due to COVID this year. Stay safe and take good care of yourself. Sending prayers and blessings to you and your family.

    Like

  8. Dear Catherine, I am so sorry for your loss. Mom’s are our very best friends and confidantes and yours was no exception. You have such special memories to treasure. Wishing you much happiness in the future. I think your Mom wanted you to enjoy life.

    Like

  9. Reading your story and all these comments it seems clear to me that you have spoken for all of us. I’d hug you if I could. Xx

    Like

  10. so sorry to hear of your loss. I love your crochet designs, long may they continue. I love the holding hands. Take care of yourself xx

    Like

  11. Very, very sorry that your mother passed away. 🙏🏼s for you and your brother during this time and season. It is all in God’s plan may that comfort you.

    Sybil (@mac4mimi)

    >

    Like

  12. Hi, Condolences on the loss of your mother. From your post, you have the understanding that she’ll always be in your heart and you’ll always hear her in your soul. Yvonne

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Like

  13. She is still with you and will continue to inspire your work. My husband passed 2 years ago and I can tell you he continues to give me strength, encouragement and answers. I just have to listen and thank him with each loving gesture he gives.

    Like

  14. So sorry to hear of the death of your mother. So glad that you got to be with her at her time of passing. May God bless you as you greive. I love the hand sculpture. What a treasure to remember her by.

    Like

  15. You poor poor girl. Thoughts are with you from Western Australia and can but imagine what you and your brother are feeling at this time. Stay strong and treasure your times together.

    Like

Leave a Reply to elizabeth plant Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s