My mother has long been one of the most solid foundations in my life. While I am miles away from her, we remain in touch and connected as mothers normally are with their children. It was my mother that told me that I should make the decision to move to the US if I thought that not going would be a regret that I would live with for a long time. I worry constantly about my mother, and the fact that she is so far away, that if something were ever to happen that I wouldn’t be there for her. I jokingly think that I have become my mother, where my mother is concerned.
My mother is one of the strongest people I know. She has cared for my sister since she was diagnosed with cancer when she was 3, and to this day still cares for her (my sister is now 37). It has been a constant struggle for my mum, but my mother never seemed to complain — even with all the issues that were going on with my dad during this time. My mother has been the cheerleader for all her children, and has been the oracle when advice was needed. Sometimes we took that advice, others we didn’t, but my mother always supported us in the decisions that we made – even when they were not always the best ones.
My mother and father separated when I was 11, and for me it was one of the best decisions my mother ever made. My father and I were not close. I am not sure why, I just never felt a strong bond with him, or certainly don’t remember there being one — not like I always had with my mother. My father had decided that alcohol was more important to get through the day than his family. In my eyes he was a sad man, and I rarely took the time to seek him out for anything. I did spend some time with him in late 1987-1988 when we took a trip to Western Australia to visit his brother. I thought of it as an opportunity to reacquaint myself with my dad, but alas that didn’t work out. He hadn’t changed, and spent much of his day drinking. Some suggested it was my sister’s illness that caused my father to drink. There may be some truth to that, but that is for another discussion in a less public forum.
The last time I really saw my dad was at my brother’s wedding. He was so frail (there is a picture here of him on that day). My father died in January 1998. The official cause was pneumonia, but we all knew that his years of alcoholism had slowly destroyed his body. The day of his funeral was one of those hot summer days — definitely not one designed for wearing a suit. I gave his eulogy. It was one of the most difficult things I had to write as there was nothing that really came to me to say about my father. Sad, but true.
I last saw my mother in 2009 when Chris and I went back to Australia. It had been nearly nine years since I had seen her (a fact that bothers me to this day) before that. This year, she is coming to the United States to visit me and I am almost giddy with excitement.
My mother is now 72 years old, and I will get to celebrate her 73rd birthday here this year. I can’t wait!
Love you mum!