The night Mum died was both surreal and yet, perfectly expected. I’m not really sure that can make sense unless you’ve watched someone actually stop being right there in front of you. It’s both terrifying and also, an unbelievable privilege.
My Mum died of cancer. It took hold of her suddenly, savagely and left us without her in our lives before we even had the chance to digest what was happening. We are not unique, she having cancer is not unique, cancer itself is not unique. But Betty Clarke herself was unique. And I’m only just starting to understand this now.
I focused so much on her illness when I wrote about Mum, I rarely wrote about her as a person. I still don’t feel like I asked enough questions, knew enough about her childhood beyond what I can piece together with her scarce voiced recollections and photos. I did though, know what she was like as a mother. She was strict yet in hindsight, fair.
She was tough and incredibly strong in the face of many adversities. She loved us beyond measure and was often candidly awkward displaying this. I know she was one of the good ones, the type of Mother I could only hope to be.I don’t know exactly what happened in those 40 or so years before I was in her life. And this is my biggest regret.
I guess I always thought I had more time to request these details. What annoys me most about myself is that I am constantly telling anyone that will listen that “I just love to know people’s stories”, yet the one person that gave me the best chance at mine, I didn’t even bother to learn.
Below are a few of the pictures I put together for Mum’s funeral.