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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 01-May-14 10:09:34

Losing my mum

Pam Rhodes - broadcaster, Songs of Praise presenter and novelist - explains how, years later, the loss of her mum still hits as hard as it ever did.

Pam Rhodes

Losing my mum

Posted on: Thu 01-May-14 10:09:34


Lead photo

Broadcaster, presenter and novelist, Pam Rhodes.

It still gets me - the sight of a box of Liquorice Allsorts. My mum loved them, and so do I. Every Christmas, we bought each other an identical box and I ate all the liquorice sticks and she ate all the pink coconut circles. But then, six years ago, we lost her. I know she was tired, ill and ready to go, but the pain of knowing she's no longer here to talk to, share with, love and be loved by still feels raw and deep.

How ridiculous is that? I'm in my sixties! I'm a mum myself and a grandmum too - and yet there I am, standing in a supermarket aisle feeling like a big kid on the verge of tears. I just miss her every single day. I miss our chats and the way she told me the truth, even when I didn't want to hear it. She could always make me laugh, mostly at myself. I loved hearing her speak of dad and the ups and downs of their lives together until, tragically, when they were still in their early forties, cancer claimed his life. She was left with not much money and three young children to bring up, but with her typical courage and resourcefulness, she rolled up her sleeves and set to work.

The future looks a little less rosy - and your mum, your very best friend, confidante and counsellor, is not there to share it with.

Perhaps she got too used to managing alone, because she showed no interest in getting married again. She said she'd married the man she loved, and had no wish to replace him. That meant she lived alone for nearly forty years, but never once complained of loneliness. She took such enjoyment in hearing about her children's, and then her grandchildren's lives, always full of interest, encouragement and pride in a way that supported us and spurred us on to greater heights.

Until she died just before her 86th birthday, I'd spoken to her every day throughout my life. I wanted to make sure someone asked her at least once a day how she was feeling, then really listen to the answer. Don't we all need that?

Am I overreacting? Well, apparently not, because I've been struck lately by how many of my contemporaries are also losing their parents, and express a similar reaction. Some have spoken of feeling almost "orphaned" to find they are now the older generation. The buck stops with them. The future looks a little less rosy - and your mum, your very best friend, confidante and counsellor, is not there to share it with.

I wish I could tell her how inspirational she's been to us all, her children and grandchildren, in the way we've all gone on to express her legacy of loving guidance in our own lives. I wish I could tell her how often I remember her hugs, her company and her lovely smile. And the Allsorts, of course. I still eat the liquorice sticks first, then leave all the pink coconut ones for her. Daft, eh?

Pam's new book, Casting the Net (The Dunbridge Chronicles: Book 2), is published by Lion Fiction, paperback, £7.99.

By Pam Rhodes

Twitter: @Gransnet

Gagagran Thu 01-May-14 10:42:01

I can so relate to this poignant post by Pam - she has captured the deep bonds of love and connection with her Mum and I have very similar feelings still, 10 years since my own Mum died.

I think of her most often when I am rifling through my pile of recipes and come across one she wrote out for me. I even speak to her and say " I'm going to make your sponge today Mum" or whatever it is that has jumped to hand.

I have tried to love my children and grandchildren in the way she loved hers and am so grateful to have had a Mother who taught me how to do that.

janeainsworth Thu 01-May-14 11:59:42

Pam you are not alone. I felt like an orphaned child when my mum died, even though I knew she didn't want to live any more, and I was 49. I just didn't want her to leave me, and your blog brought tears to my eyes.
Like gagagran I am trying to do for my children and grandchildren all the things that Mum did for us.

Bellasnana Thu 01-May-14 12:14:49

Me too. Mum died two years ago and not a day goes by that I don't long to have her back. I miss her so much, especially when things aren't going well. She always knew just what to say and had such wise advice. She also brought her three daughters up single-handedly after our father died, and we were so lucky to have her as long as we did.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 01-May-14 12:18:10

"almost "orphaned""? In your sixties?!

Oh, come on!

Her mum was eightysix. hmm

Still, it's a book. And it will probably sell.

Stansgran Thu 01-May-14 12:18:29

And then you read Mumsnet and see how so many of them are vile about their mothers. I still miss my mothers kindness to all and sundry. I wish I were more like her and she died 35 years ago.

Riverwalk Thu 01-May-14 12:33:21

I'm confused - the book seems not to be about her mum.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 01-May-14 12:41:35

Oh. So, post on any old subject that might appeal to a load of potential customers, just to advertise a new book?

Elegran Thu 01-May-14 13:12:04

When my mother died (nearly 30 years ago) she was the last of my four parents and inlaws. I did feel, not orphaned exactly, but exposed. I was now the older generation and there was no buffer any more between me and eternity.

But I was not an orphaned child, I was a grown-up. I had a loving husband and teenaged children to look after and worry about, and other relations and friends. I survived.

Now almost all my older relations are dead. Only two aunts remain, one of them in her nineties. Two of my cousins are dead, both of them younger than me. Two years ago I lost my dear husband. I survived that too. You grow up a little more with each loss.

Soutra Thu 01-May-14 13:37:04

Your relationship with and love for your parents does not end when you reach the dizzy heights of adulthood in fact it was only when I became a mother that I understood my own relationship with her. Yes I felt "orphaned" in my 50's when I lost the last person whom I had known all my life and who had shared my best and my worst times. Don't be so cynical jingl!!

HMHNanna Thu 01-May-14 13:41:20

I have read many of your posts jinglbellfrocks but this one is very unfeeling. The relationship between my Mum and myself was the most perfect thing ever in my life .She died in 2008, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss her. Surely someone's Mum dying happens every day. It isn't an old story.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 01-May-14 13:41:27

I lost my mum when I was 19. Would have loved her to have been around all of my adult life.

KatyK Thu 01-May-14 13:46:56

I lost my mum in 1972 when I was 23. My sister was only 14 at the time.

kittylester Thu 01-May-14 14:00:05

I envy all of you who have happy memories of your Mums. I hope that my children remember me as fondly as you all do - it's lovely to read. flowers

janeainsworth Thu 01-May-14 14:03:41

jingl that is terribly sad to lose your mother at such a young age.
I would have loved my dad to know my children.
But I think it would have been just as painful to lose him when he was in his 80s, as it was when he was in his 50s.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 01-May-14 14:05:13

I think writing this blog, with the advert for the book thrown in, is cynical in itself.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 01-May-14 14:06:10

Wouldn't know about a dad Jane. wink

janeainsworth Thu 01-May-14 14:07:39

Most of the blogs are written with a promotion for something or other jingl - surely you must have noticed? confused

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 01-May-14 14:09:08

This seems particularly cynical.

Never mind if you don't see that.

HMHNanna Thu 01-May-14 14:09:39

Our two sons aged 39 and 35 still think about their Nanna. She taught them to how to play the piano and then the organ .She taught them how to play golf. They say that so many things that I do and say remind them of her. If I can do half as much for them as my Mum did for me and them, I will have absolutely no regrets.That is why no one who has had a fantastic Mum or Nanna will ever think that a book about a Mum is an old subject.

Riverwalk Thu 01-May-14 14:13:34

I agree with jingl - what's the blog about her late mum got to do with the new book? Extremely cynical - why not just promote the book with a blog about its content?

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 01-May-14 14:15:27

Riverwalk phew!


jinglbellsfrocks Thu 01-May-14 14:16:13

HMHN the book appears to be nothing to do with her mother.

Riverwalk Thu 01-May-14 14:18:24

HMH the book is NOT about a mum - that's mine and jings point!

HMHNanna Thu 01-May-14 14:22:39

I have yet to read the book. I suppose that even after six years without my Mum, even a conversation like this has made me realise how much I miss her. I have cried this lunchtime and just wish that my Mum was here.