Skip to content

Vale my magnificent Mum (1929-2020)

June 15, 2020

Portrait of JessieSome 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 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2020 23:03

    So sorry for your loss, Sue.
    Thinking of you and your family…here on the otherside of the world.

    • June 21, 2020 16:31

      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.

      • June 21, 2020 17:34

        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

        • June 21, 2020 18:03

          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.

  2. June 15, 2020 23:18

    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

    • June 21, 2020 16:33

      Thanks Angharad. A cuppa at Bookplate sometime would be lovely. This year has been tough hasn’t it?

  3. Glen Hunting permalink
    June 15, 2020 23:22

    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.

  4. June 15, 2020 23:27

    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

    • June 21, 2020 16:36

      Thanks Anita. It’s been tough, but I know many people understand exactly what I am (we are) going through.

      • June 23, 2020 20:04

        Yes indeed we do understand. Take good care of yourselves…xxx

  5. June 15, 2020 23:28

    I’m so sorry to hear this very sad news about your beloved mum. My heart goes out to you, Sue. Many hugs xxx

  6. June 15, 2020 23:35

    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…)

    • June 16, 2020 00:11

      Oh Jim, that is a terrible loss, your father’s death at such a young age…

    • June 21, 2020 16:50

      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.

  7. June 15, 2020 23:43

    Condolences. It’s hard.

  8. June 16, 2020 00:10

    She has left a wonderful legacy in your love of books, that you share with the wider world through this blog. Lisa x

  9. June 16, 2020 00:30

    You were most lucky to have her. Take care of yourself.

    • June 21, 2020 16:54

      Thanks Guy, I was and I’ll do my best.

      • June 22, 2020 11:02

        It takes a long time to adjust.

        • June 22, 2020 17:09

          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.

  10. June 16, 2020 00:33

    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

    • June 21, 2020 16:56

      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.

  11. June 16, 2020 03:18

    I am so sorry to hear this. My condolences to you and your family.

    Take care.

  12. piningforthewest permalink
    June 16, 2020 04:19

    I’m so sorry for your loss, at least it sounds like she had a wonderful life full of giving and loving.

  13. June 16, 2020 05:05

    Oh Sue, I am so sorry. Condolences to you and your family for the loss of such a wonderful woman. Big hugs.

  14. June 16, 2020 06:33

    You have been blessed.

  15. ablay1 permalink
    June 16, 2020 06:59

    Dear Sue, so sorry for your loss. Your mother sounded like a wonderful woman. Wishing you good memories and strength.

  16. Carolyn permalink
    June 16, 2020 07:25

    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….

  17. Jan Dickinson permalink
    June 16, 2020 07:35

    Dear Sue
    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.

    • June 21, 2020 17:23

      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.

  18. June 16, 2020 07:37

    Thinking of you Sue and happy to do what I can.

  19. June 16, 2020 07:42

    Dear Sue,
    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.

  20. Meg permalink
    June 16, 2020 07:52

    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.

  21. Sara Dowse permalink
    June 16, 2020 08:09

    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.

    • June 21, 2020 17:27

      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.

  22. June 16, 2020 09:36

    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

  23. Gay Lynch permalink
    June 16, 2020 10:50

    Sincere condolences, Sue. Grieve well. I have no emoticons on my Mac but…

  24. Amanda permalink
    June 16, 2020 11:10

    My sincere condolences to you, Sue. Thank you for sharing a little about her. What a fine woman and wonderful mother. Rest In Peace.

  25. Desley Deacon permalink
    June 16, 2020 12:00

    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.

    • June 21, 2020 17:30

      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.

  26. June 16, 2020 13:09

    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.

    • June 21, 2020 17:32

      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.

  27. Diana Blackwood permalink
    June 16, 2020 13:41

    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.)

    • June 21, 2020 17:33

      Oh I’m sorry to hear that Diana, and send my sympathy straight back to you. Our Mums are so special.

  28. June 16, 2020 15:40

    I love you Mum. This is beautiful x

  29. June 16, 2020 16:12

    So sorry for your loss sue my thoughts with you

  30. Sue permalink
    June 16, 2020 17:33

    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.

    • June 21, 2020 17:36

      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.

  31. June 16, 2020 19:23

    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.
    Bron xo

    • June 21, 2020 17:38

      Thanks Bron … I’m realising the truth of what you say. It’s tougher than I thought I’d prepared for as you say.

  32. June 16, 2020 20:14

    I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved mother, Sue.

  33. June 16, 2020 20:40

    I am so sorry to hear this sad news Sue. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    Be kind to yourself.

  34. sharkell permalink
    June 16, 2020 21:32

    Sorry for your loss Sue, devastating for you and your family

  35. June 17, 2020 01:59

    May her memory be a blessing to you, your family and all who knew her!

  36. June 17, 2020 08:43

    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.

    • June 17, 2020 08:48

      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.

    • June 17, 2020 08:49

      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…

  37. June 17, 2020 13:21

    Much sympathy Sue! It’s one of the big ones.

    • June 21, 2020 17:43

      Thanks Margaret – I am realising how much it is, even at my ripe old age when you expect to have lost your parents.

  38. June 17, 2020 14:41

    I’m thinking of you at this sad time.

  39. June 18, 2020 04:11

    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.

    • June 21, 2020 17:44

      Thanks Arti … while this was a hard post to write, it’s lovely that people can see what she meant to me (and us).

  40. June 18, 2020 09:29

    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.

  41. George permalink
    June 18, 2020 11:26

    Please accept my condolences.

  42. June 18, 2020 13:31

    Sorry to hear about your loss. Please accept my condolences.

  43. buriedinprint permalink
    June 19, 2020 06:22

    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

    • June 21, 2020 17:46

      Thanks Buried … I think it was, as it was to me. I was lucky, I know, to have had that time to say goodbye.

  44. June 22, 2020 17:05

    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.

Leave a Reply to whisperinggums Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: