real life

"Dear Mum, on your 70th birthday, I miss you."

Why do I miss you more today than I usually would on your birthday mum?

Is it because you would have been 70 and now I can’t imagine what you would be like? I know what you would be like because you would be the same beautiful, gracious, loving mum that I miss, just older.

But what else would you have learned, what would you be doing, where would you be living, I wonder about all these things, even though they are pretty irrelevant. I also wonder how my life would have been different if you didn’t die.

I don’t know how you would have aged. As I begin to feel older, I know the varied effects of age are mostly unwelcome, I wonder how you would have fared so far.

Would you have been well? I assume you would have been, because you always were, but I’ll never know. I am grateful that you will never know the ravages of cancer or the cruel oblivion of Alzheimer’s, but still I wonder.

Sometimes I think about what you would have thought of me, of my life and my choices. There have been some tough times lately and I would love to ask you how you made it through the bad times that I remember as a child and how you felt. I want to ask you if I’m crazy some days. Without you, even though I am absolutely not, I feel alone.

I miss having you here at special times. The better life is, the more you are missing out on, so the more I miss you. There is a little hole in my joy every time because you can’t share it with me. Sarah, Sam and I try to be there for each other, you would be pretty proud of how we have managed that I think, we are rock solid but we can’t be there all the time.

Denise, Allan, Nicole, Sarah and Sam.
Denise, Allan, Nicole, Sarah and Sam. Image supplied.
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When I think of you and Dad in a town house just down the street from work, and just being able to pop out to meet you for lunch, or drop in for dinner on the way home, or a hand with the house, with Connor or anything else that people’s mums do for them I get little pangs of jealousy followed by much bigger ones of sadness. You don’t get to do that, and I don’t get to have that.

But I don’t miss everything about you, I don’t miss you telling me to put my toes down or not to eat that cake, but I managed to have found someone who reminds me of those things, so don’t worry, I’m on it. The rest of it, I have covered – there are no dishes left in the sink (at anyone’s house), military schedules are in place and everyone is being very well cared for, you taught us well.

So happy 70th birthday mum, wherever you are, I hope it’s full of sparkling wine and company. I hope you are looking down on us thinking, yes, they are doing pretty well, and that you are at peace, you deserve to be.

Love you forever.

My mum Denise died in a two car accident on Melbourne Cup Day in 1999. She was killed on impact, both the other driver and my brother Sam survived with minor injuries. If nothing else I hope this reminds people to drive safely over the holiday, because everyone will be missed by someone.

Nicole is a chef, house keeper, lover, step-mother and food blogger, that’s before she leaves the house in the morning to manage marketing and media at an independent school. Her recently established blog, www.lifesapicnic.org aims to build a community of food lovers sharing their recipes. She has lived and worked in the UK, France and Austria and has travelled widely. Nicole can do almost anything, from opera to ski instruction in 4 languages and managing media at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, so far it has been an interesting ride. She looks forward to the quiet days ahead.

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