Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A Big Adventure

Sometimes something happens that eclipses everything else and makes all the things you were worrying about seem like nothing.

My youngest son has been very ill. He seems to be on the mend now, but it’s going to take time.

The 15th February is the anniversary of my mum’s death eight years ago. It was, as she would have said herself, a happy release. The weeks leading up to her death were hell for her and for all of us who loved her.

She was a great mum. She contributed far more to my education than school, spent endless hours with me in the library, read every single one of my published stories – and wasn’t afraid to tell me what she thought of them.

Throughout her life she had more than her fair share of tragedy and heartache and was hurt more than she deserved to be, but she remained cheerful and always ready with a joke. Every day I phoned her up and asked how she was. “Pissed off,” would come the reply, then she’d laugh and tell me about her day.

She enjoyed the Second World War. It was, she said, a big adventure and she rarely talked of the heartache of losing friends and her first husband just two months after they married and only once of comforting a dying boy sailor who was crying for his mother.

She preferred to remember the good times.

I was so lucky to have her for as long as I did and for most of the year I do remember the good times, but around this time it’s harder and for some reason this year has been harder than usual.

If you’ve ever read any of my stories, chances are you’ve met my mum. She’s been in a lot of them, often in the guise of the rebellious mother. She loved it. “That’s about me isn’t it?” she’d say with a gleam in her eye. How I miss her.


  1. Oh, Teresa, that is so touching. I am lucky to still have my mum and she crops up in my stories too (although I usually deny that it's her!). Your mum sounds wonderful - and I do recognise her from your stories. How lovely that we can meet each other's mums like that.

    I'm glad your son is getting better. It's no wonder you're taking this anniversary extra hard this year. All best wishes for his continuing recovery.

  2. Oh Teresa, I really feel for you. Aren't anniversaries difficult? Oddly enough, I posted about my own sad anniversary only this week, and it really helped (I hope yours has helped you, too). Your mother sounds wonderful, and not unlike mine, who also had a really difficult life, full of pain (both physical and emotional), but who remained feisty and wildly unconventional. My second novel was really about her, so it seems we have something in common. You never stop missing your mum, do you?

    I'm also so sorry your son has been so ill, but delighted that he's making a recovery. February is a horrible month at the best of times, isn't it, without illness and anniversaries. I hope you'll feel better soon.

  3. Thanks for such a lovely post, Teresa, especially when you've been going through a worrying time. Hope your son continues to improve.

    My mum died just after her 80th birthday in 2001 and was happy right up until the end, even though she'd been widowed at 47 (I was 12) and was left with six children of varying ages. Much as I mourned the loss of my dad at that age, I'd have been more devastated if it had been my mum at that time.

  4. Your mum sounds lovely, Teresa, and I don't wonder you are missing her, especially this year with your son being so ill. I'm so glad he is now making a good recovery.

    I shall be looking out for Mum from now on whenever I read one of your stories! Isn't that one of the great things about writing that you can write out your feelings and emotions? Almost like having a good counselling session!

  5. Your mum sounds very special, Teresa.

  6. I often wonder, Bernadette, if mums in stories are the real deal :-)
    I think you're right - it's harder this year because I'm worried about Rich.

    I've just read your anniversary post, Frances and found it very moving. Yes I think it helped to write it down - I'd been writing and rewriting it for days and it had gone on for pages!

    Thanks Rosemary. My mum was just over 80 too and I know I was lucky to have her so long. How awful for your mum to be widowed so young with young children.

    She was lovely, Gail. I wish I had half her wit! I so agree - writing is like having a counselling session.

    Yes, she was, Patsy. One of these days I'll have to write a post about her antics!!

  7. I'm so sorry about your son's illness and hope he recovers fully very soon. It's so hard to see them suffer and the worry never leaves your mind for a moment no matter what age they are. I think I have more concerns for mine lately than I did when they were babies and toddlers.

    Your Mum was amazing and she lives on in your stories, which is the best tribute to her you could possibly make. You must miss her so much.

  8. Your mum sounds amazing. And I'm glad she is able to live on in your stories.

    Hoping your son makes a full recovery.

  9. Hope your son continues to recover and is soon back to full health.
    Your Mum sounds like she was a wonderful woman and is obviously very missed.

  10. Thank you Joanna - my son has the same thing your daughter had. I don't even like to write the word.
    You are so right about them being more of a worry once they've grown up - my mum used to say "When they're little they make your arms ache and when they're big they make your heart ache." I used to think she was daft but now mine are grown I know what she meant!

    Thank you Womag.

    Thank you too, Carol.

  11. Sending best wishes to your son for a full recovery. Joanna said everything I wanted to say (but put it much better than I could have).

    Your mum was beautiful and sounds like a very lovely lady. Such a sad anniversary.


  12. Teresa, I'm so glad your son is on the mend.

    Our mothers are always with us, I think.

  13. Thank you, Suzanne - he's getting there. I think it's at times like these when the writer's imagination is more of a curse.
    My daughter looks a lot like my mum :-)

    Thank you, Kath. You are right there.

  14. I miss her too - she was a fantastic Nanna, amazing :o) I've thought about her lots lately, everyday there is something to remind me of her. A truly great lady xxx

  15. I liked that, it was lovely to remember her. I remember her as a great figurehead of your family and clearly every important to everyone in it. It's a great tribute that each of your children have used a part of her name for their own children, proving just how big a part she was in their lives. She was the grandmother that I never had, and I will never forget the conversations over Sunday lunch! Bringing a smile even now.

  16. You were very special to her LizzieO and she was immensely proud of you. I'll never forget hearing her shoes tapping along the hospital corridor the day you were born, she was in such a hurry to see you and was first one through the doors when visiting started and you bonded with her from the very start xxx

    That's a lovely thing to say - she was very fond of you, JollyO (knew you'd passed the Nanna test when she started knitting you a jumper)and she would be so pleased about what you said and I can't even begin to imagine how happy she would have been about her name being passed on - but to use one of her expressions she would have been chuffed to little mince balls xxx

  17. What wonderful memories and photos of your mum, Teresa. I hope your son gets better soon. I'm thinking of you x

  18. So sorry your son has been so ill Teresa and hope he is well on the way to a full recovery now. My Mum was my best friend, what more could you want. Thinking of you X

  19. Thank you, hydra. He's getting better and better xx

    Thanks, Sue xx