Mother’s Day without my mum: A bittersweet reminder of a life well-lived

May 13, 2023
Source: Supplied.

This Mother’s Day will be bittersweet for me.

My lovely Mum passed away at the start of March at the ripe old age of 96 which not only leaves my brother and me orphans, albeit in our sixties, but I now have to pretend that I am the fount of all knowledge.

I can no longer give Mum a ring and check how she made her rice pudding so creamy, no longer take around the knitted jumper that has a hole in the sleeve, and no longer chat over a coffee and a piece of date slice.

Now it’s up to me.  

By watching Mum and Dad and their approach to life, I learnt to problem solve, to think laterally and to find a solution for most issues.

Of course, as long as I was anywhere in their orbit I could rely on them for the ‘how to’, relinquishing responsibility for testing my thought processes too much. Now, as the ‘new’ older generation, I am it.

Recently, my daughter brought me a suitcase where the zip had got stuck. A bit of motherly knowledge coupled with some candle wax and patience and it was working again.

I heard her say to her partner, “Told you Mum could fix it.”

On this Mother’s Day, my memories of Mum will no doubt swirl around me as I spend time with my daughters.

Kisses of bright cherry red lipstick on the back of my hand before she left for church guild meetings, the waft of Oil of Ulan as we hugged, scrumptious pikelets and the creamiest fudge, complicated jumpers knitted, special clothes sewed, and the unforgettable music that flowed from her fingertips on the Victor piano she had loved since she was a child.  

I know full well how incredibly lucky I was to have the Mother I did and to still hold her when she was 96.

For all of you who can no longer share Mothers’ Day with your own Mum, I wish you peace, beautiful memories and a warm hug with overtones of Oil of Ulan   

Thanks, Mum.


To read more nostalgia articles from Pam Van Der Kooy, head here. Or you can find her brilliant nostalgia book Stuff We Had in the 50s and 60s here.

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