“I have spent every day since she has gone thinking about her, appreciating her, writing about her and trying to leave a legacy that she truly deserves.”
My mum was the most compassionate, inspiring woman I will ever know. Don’t get me wrong – we had our moments. She used to be extremely neurotic, worrying about the most ridiculous of things, causing me to repeat over and over again, “I’m Ok. I’m safe. Everything is fine”. As the years went by that frustration faded and I realised that it was simply because her family was everything to her.
It was from the moment I moved to London from Dorset in 2008 (when I was in my early twenties) that our bond really strengthened. That was the moment we became so much more than a mother and a daughter – we had a real friendship. We shared a love of dance and the theatre and people watching in coffee shops. We would wander along the Southbank arm-in-arm where she would offer words of wisdom about anything and I would chatter on. I told her “I love you” every time we spoke. I’m so glad I did.
When she was poorly over Christmas 2011 we didn’t know that it was bowel cancer. It was too late, she died 16 days after her diagnosis. When her heart stopped I felt like my world did. In her last few days she told me to feel whatever I feel and to use words to tell people about her. I have spent every day since she has gone thinking about her, appreciating her, writing about her and trying to leave a legacy that she truly deserves.
Mum was such a creative soul and she passed that down to me. I absolutely had to use it to keep her memory alive. I scattered notes around Paris as a tribute and have now been lucky enough to write about my experience in a book.
Mum isn’t gone, really. I am taking her with me every step of the way. I am so grateful to her for making me the person I am today and for giving me the strength to keep going when sometimes, to be honest, I just want to give up and run away. I will never stop trying to make her proud.
Vivienne Chadwick – I love you.
– Rachel Chadwick, London