real life

'Last Mother's Day, I was about to call my mum. Then my dad phoned.'

Mother’s Day 2020 is one I won’t ever forget. 

Thanks to COVID-19 and the restrictions that were in place, the normal plans of a lunch or tea with my mum were off. I had sent a card earlier in the week, though, to ensure Mum had it to open on the day.

When I woke up Sunday morning, I sent Mum a 'Happy Mother’s Day' text message, so she would see it when she woke up. "Thanks darling," was her reply. 

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I went about my day and got ready for work. 

I had every intention of calling her, but time got away from me. I was only five minutes into my drive to work when I saw an ewe lambing in the paddock, close to the fence. 

I pulled over to see she was delivering her second twin. I climbed into the paddock to check she was okay. Not that I had any experience in lamb pulling, but I just felt like I needed to check. 

The ewe delivered her second lamb safely, and I took a photo and sent it to Mum, as I knew it was something she would like to see. 

Mum wrote back and told me how special it was, and that she has always wanted to see it in real life.

Amie and her mum. Image: Supplied. I arrived at work to start my shift and thought to myself, 'I must call Mum on my tea break.' 

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At 4:45pm I checked my phone and saw I had a missed call from my dad. I assumed he must be calling to remind me about Mother's Day.

I called him back and will never forget how distraught he was. He told me that Mum had collapsed in front of him in the hallway.

He had called an ambulance and they were working on her as we spoke. He told me to get there as quick as I could. 

I remember going to the in-charge nurse and telling her I had to leave, something had happened to my mum. I tried calling my boyfriend, but due to unreliable phone signal in the country, I couldn’t reach him.

I don’t remember much of the hour and half drive, just that I got there safely. 

I went straight to the hospital, thinking the ambulance had taken Mum there, but a nurse told me they had been quiet that afternoon and had no one come in. 

I was so confused, so I called Dad thinking the ambulance had taken Mum to another town, to a bigger hospital. 

It was then Dad told me I needed to come home, that Mum didn’t make it and the police were there...

Amie's Mum. Image: Supplied. 

My heart stopped. It didn’t occur to me that my mum would die. 

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I don’t remember driving the two minutes to my family home. I felt so confused and shocked. And I just had to see my dad. 

I went into the dining room where Dad was sitting, talking with two police officers. I remember hugging him so tight and asking what had happened. He explained again that she had collapsed in the hallway, that it had all happened so quickly. 

"She is lying in the hallway if you want to see her," he said. 

I remember sitting by her side, holding her hand, which was still warm. 

The tears wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t believe that I was seeing my beautiful mother lying there, no longer with us. 

Later, funeral directors arrived and suddenly my nursing experience kicked in. I asked if I could prepare her before they took her away. 

One of the directors helped me change her clothes and brush her hair. 

My mum always took pride in her appearance, and wouldn’t dare leave the house with unbrushed hair. I felt like it was the least I could do for her. 

And then she left her home for the last time.

The day after Mum passed away, I went to see her doctor to find out why this had happened. 

Mum’s cause of death was dissection of the thoracic aorta, a condition where there is a tear in the wall of the major artery carrying blood out of the heart.

The only comfort I took from my conversation with the doctor was that it would have been very quick and she would not have suffered. 

The days leading up the funeral are a blur. 

I remember picking her outfit, choosing jewellery, selecting her favourite lipstick and perfume.

Because of COVID, only 20 people were allowed to attend the funeral and we all had to sit 1.5 metres apart, it was surreal. 

Amie and her Mum. Image: Supplied. Seeing my nanna – Mum’s mum – breakdown and not being able to hug her was heartbreaking, as it was not being able to comfort my dad and brother.

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In the weeks that followed, I wouldn’t have survived without the support of my dad, brother, sister-in-law, boyfriend, family and friends. We were all learning how to continue life without the strongest lady we knew in it.

Even now, almost 12 months on, the support I receive, from phone calls and visits, is just so appreciated.

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The grief that comes when you least expect it is the worse. The special events of birthdays and Christmas have come and gone. Now we have to get through the anniversary on May 10, and of course Mother’s Day.

Even now, the tears come out of nowhere, and the smallest thing can be a trigger. 

After Mum passed away, I felt like I had lost my identity. I knew I was still a daughter, granddaughter, sister, girlfriend, friend. But I just felt lost because I was motherless. 

My mum - my first best friend - was no longer there. Mum would have the answer to any question, and the best advice. She always just knew when something wasn’t right.

A mother is the only person who knows what it feels like to have you growing inside her. No one else can share the bond that a mother has with her child. A mother’s love is like no other.

Finding the Motherless Daughters Australia organisation has been great. 

They understand the loss of words, the insomnia, and everything else that comes from the grief. These women just get it. 

They just know what kind of support you need, even if it is in the middle of the night. While all our stories start off very differently, they all have the same ending. We have lost our mums, and a part of ourselves. 

Motherless Daughters Australia is a not for profit organisation that represents, informs, supports and connects women and girls whose mums have died to help navigate the everyday and life’s key milestones.

You can find out more about them via their Facebook Page, Support Groupwebsite or Instagram Page.

Feature Image: Supplied.