Some of you already know, but most of you may be wondering about my recent silence. I am really too heartsore to write much now, but I feel all you lovely followers deserve to know whyfor this silence. On Friday, my dear 90-year-old Mum died peacefully, after a short illness that, coincidentally, aligned with the COVID-19 lock-down here. I have spent much of the last month by her side, and am just too sad right now to compose a proper post about her. She loved and nurtured me with all her heart from the moment I was born right through to the end; she fostered my love of reading, introduced me to Jane Austen and taught me cryptic crosswords; she supported and respected me; she was self-effacing, always putting herself last; she was quietly passionate about social justice and the environment; and she made me laugh. She was the whole package.
Here are some words from her friends:
“I have fondly admired Jessie and feel so privileged to have learned from her wisdom, her gentle elegance, and her intellect.”
“Jessie is one of the most beautiful women I have known, so kind and thoughtful and so clever too. She is a truly lovely lady.”
“I feel very privileged to have known Jessie … so wonderfully supporting, caring and kind.”
“I have always enjoyed her company and admired her attitude to all things.”
And, finally, from one of her church friends …
“We have lost a soft voice, a strong faith, an enquiring mind and a great friend”.
As for the family, we have lost a dearly treasured and much enjoyed wife, mother and mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and cousin. The loss is all ours.
(Finally, I must say a huge thanks to Lisa and Bill for their behind-the-scenes support and offers of help, and to Bill, in particular, for ensuring my blog kept going. There are still a couple of Bill Curates posts to come. I do not have enough words to thank them.)
97 thoughts on “Vale my magnificent Mum (1929-2020)”
So sorry for your loss, Sue.
Thinking of you and your family…here on the otherside of the world.
Thanks so much, Nancy. It’s been a hard week, but I now need to start resuming normal life (a bit anyhow) otherwise I won’t be able to. I can feel an internal resistance because it really means the end of my old life.
Sue, I searched my Kindle for some words to express how much your words “…it really means the end of my old life” impacted me. Loss of a mother…I was very young (28 yr) and living in NL and felt exactly the same, my ‘old/young’ life was over. The American poet James Wright said:”…merely a desire to return to a part of my life that is finished. We all hate to see the old worlds of ourselves die, and we have a right to the pathos of the loss.” Take time to heal….. xo
Oh, I hope I didn’t make you sad, Nancy. Losing your Mum at 28 is awful. I love though that you went to your Kindle to find that quote. I will remember that.
I’m so sorry to hear about your mum, Sue. She sounds like she was simply wonderful and I can see so much of you in that lovely photo. I’m thinking of you and hopefully Book Plate opens up soon so I can buy you a slice of cake and give you a big hug xxxxx
Thanks Angharad. A cuppa at Bookplate sometime would be lovely. This year has been tough hasn’t it?
Hello Sue, long time no post (for me)…
Wishing you comfort and solace at this difficult time. Your mum sounds like she was a wonderful person.
Thanks so much Glen. She was.
My deepest sympathy on the loss of your mum. I know how bereft and sad you must be feeling. The death of a beloved parent is very, very hard. She sounds like such a wonderful woman. My thoughts are with you and all your family. x
Thanks Anita. It’s been tough, but I know many people understand exactly what I am (we are) going through.
Yes indeed we do understand. Take good care of yourselves…xxx
I’m so sorry to hear this very sad news about your beloved mum. My heart goes out to you, Sue. Many hugs xxx
Thanks so much Paula.
Dear WG/Sue: Sincere condolences. The Japanese – at such a time – use a phrase which says it all really: “There are no words…” (voice trailing off…)
I am just at this moment in Tamworth to see my mother – a tumble last week (no bones broken) – 90 to-morrow morning. How fortunate are we to have/have had our mothers to such a grand age. (My father, a passenger in a car accident – gone aged 24…)
Oh Jim, that is a terrible loss, your father’s death at such a young age…
Your Mum, Jim, is pretty much a year younger than mine. She would have been 91 in two weeks. (Your Mum’s birthday, also, is my parent’s wedding anniversary).
I’m so sorry about losing your father so early. I really can’t contemplate not growing up with a parent. My heart goes out to any young person who loses a parent early. Such a huge loss in any person’s life.
Condolences. It’s hard.
Thanks Jeanne, it sure is.
She has left a wonderful legacy in your love of books, that you share with the wider world through this blog. Lisa x
She did Lisa – thank heavens for reading parents, eh?
Yes indeed. We owe them everything.
You were most lucky to have her. Take care of yourself.
Thanks Guy, I was and I’ll do my best.
It takes a long time to adjust.
I want to say, don’t tell me that, but I know it will be true, and so, I suppose, it should be if the relationship was meaningful. I can feel already so many of the ways and places it is going to hit me.
So sorry to hear this, Sue, but what a magical gift your mother gave you in passing on her love of reading. Take care & take your time; you don’t have to rush back here because we all understand there are other priorities xx
Thanks kimbofo. I will be coming back only slowly as I do have a lot to do, particularly as I have my centenarian father to help.
I am so sorry to hear this. My condolences to you and your family.
Thanks Brian. I’ll do my best.
I’m so sorry for your loss, at least it sounds like she had a wonderful life full of giving and loving.
Thanks Katrina. She did (and I wanted more!)
Oh Sue, I am so sorry. Condolences to you and your family for the loss of such a wonderful woman. Big hugs.
Thanks Stefanie … accepted, virtually!
You have been blessed.
I have M-R, I know.
Dear Sue, so sorry for your loss. Your mother sounded like a wonderful woman. Wishing you good memories and strength.
Thanks Anna, she was – the memories will sustain us, I know.
Your mother really was the whole package, but above all I felt her kindness in her messages to me and through your descriptions of her. Why couldn’t the fates have granted just a few more years to such a beloved mother….
Thanks Carolyn … I do love that you felt that. And yes, why couldn’t they?
The loss of your mother is such a great loss and such a sad stage in your life. When we lose our mother we lose so very much – the only person who held our memories from before we even had memories ourselves.
I feel for you in my heart.
Thanks so much Jan. I can see I am going to have to learn now how to live without my Mum as others have before me.
Thinking of you Sue and happy to do what I can.
Thanks Bill – I know you are, and it’s been so appreciated.
Just adding my voice to the messages here. Sending virtual hugs to you and wishing you joyous memories and much strength. You are in my thoughts.
Thanks Karenlee … we do have wonderful memories.
Dear Sue, sorry to hear of the death of your mother and the sadness you must be feeling. There are no words of comfort I can give you, but you are blessed to know your mother as a wonderful woman.
Thanks Meg, and I do know that I am.
The loss of a mother, especially one like yours, is profound. Everything you’ve posted about her and the comments of others indicates a human being with all the virtues. As they say, a genuine mensch. Take care of yourself, Sue.
Thanks Sara. A “genuine mensch”. I like that – and she would too, having had a few wonderful Jewish women among her Sydney friends in past times.
To read of your love for your mother, and of her love for you and all her family, is to enter for a moment a rare and beautiful shining circle
Oh thanks Carmel – that’s so beautifully said.
Sincere condolences, Sue. Grieve well. I have no emoticons on my Mac but…
Thanks Gay. I will do my best …
My sincere condolences to you, Sue. Thank you for sharing a little about her. What a fine woman and wonderful mother. Rest In Peace.
Thanks Amanda …
Thank you for telling us about your mother. She looks beautiful in the photo and was obviously loved by all. Take time to grieve. The books will be there when you are able to get back to them.
Thanks Desley … the books are glaring at me, but I have told them they need to be patient. I do want to get to them, but my priorities have to be different right now.
What a beautiful tribute to your mum. I note she was born the same year as mine, 1929. I’m sending you virtual hugs though we have never met; I hope you will travel gently through this time and find moments of laughter as well as tears.
Oh is that right Denise? It was a good year. (The composer Peter Sculthorpe was born that year too). Thanks for the virtual hugs – accepted with gratitude.
My deepest sympathy, Sue. It’s a strange, sad time for you, I know. How lucky you were to have had such a mother, and to have had her in your life for so long. (Mine died in October, and I still feel as if a part of me is missing.)
Oh I’m sorry to hear that Diana, and send my sympathy straight back to you. Our Mums are so special.
I love you Mum. This is beautiful x
Thanks Hannah x
So sorry for your loss sue my thoughts with you
Thanks Stu …
I am so sorry Sue. I lost my Mum to cancer when I was aged 20, and I know the grief. It’s a huge loss. Sending my deepest sympathy to you and your family.
Oh Sue, as I wrote to Jim above, I’m so sorry. I just can’t imagine losing my Mum at such an age. I do know how lucky I’ve been to have had her through so much of my adult life.
Dear Sue, please accept my heart-felt condolences. It doesn’t matter how much time you’ve had to prepare for this moment, it still takes your breath away & leaves you numb.
Thinking of you & your family.
Thanks Bron … I’m realising the truth of what you say. It’s tougher than I thought I’d prepared for as you say.
I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved mother, Sue.
I am so sorry to hear this sad news Sue. My thoughts are with you and your family.
Be kind to yourself.
Thanks Marg – I’ll try!
Sorry for your loss Sue, devastating for you and your family
May her memory be a blessing to you, your family and all who knew her!
Thanks Davida … I believe it will.
Oh Sue, having lost my own Mum to cancer only three weeks ago, I share your sadness and send love and solidarity. My mum was also an avid reader and Jane Austen fan – I like to imagine they are sharing reading notes in the afterlife.
I have not been in a state to reply to all the comments, yet, Angela, but this popped up on my notifications and I had to respond. I share your pain. What a horrible 2020 it’s been, by all measures. Be well, Angela.
Thanks Sue. A bloody sad year indeed.
Angela, I am so sorry to hear your news, please accept my sincere condolences.
I love the idea that your mother and Sue’s are bonding in the Great Library in the Sky. It is a comforting thought to think that all the booklovers will gravitate towards each other…
Much sympathy Sue! It’s one of the big ones.
Thanks Margaret – I am realising how much it is, even at my ripe old age when you expect to have lost your parents.
I’m thinking of you at this sad time.
WG, I’m so sorry for your loss, my deepest condolences. From what you’ve written here, I can see what a great loss it is for you, your family, and the sphere of your mother’s influence.
Thanks Arti … while this was a hard post to write, it’s lovely that people can see what she meant to me (and us).
Oh Sue, what a loss. And how lucky you were to have her. My deepest sympathy and warmest best wishes to you and your family. Sending you strength and love.
Thanks Michelle – I was, and we were, I know.
Please accept my condolences.
Sorry to hear about your loss. Please accept my condolences.
Aw, I’m so sorry to hear this news, Sue, but thank you for sharing it with us. Those testaments are just lovely. And I’m sure your presence was a tremendous help to and comfort for her in recent weeks. Warmest thoughts to you and yours. x
Thanks Buried … I think it was, as it was to me. I was lucky, I know, to have had that time to say goodbye.
Sue, your mum sounds like a wonderful woman and a terrific role model who will be sadly missed. It is never easy to say goodbye. My thoughts are with you.
Thanks Jennifer. She was and is. I appreciate your care.