P.S I love you: You gave me the confidence to live life without you

“I’m not afraid to die, I just don’t want to leave you behind.”

My mother was never overly warm or demonstrative, yet I was never in any doubt of her love for us. People used to tell me how proud she was of us and I guess I didn’t really believe it until I had my own children. I understand the bond a lot better now and I guess I’m realistic about what being a mother really means.
In her dying year, I used to day dream that she would leave notes behind – for the day I got married or the day I had my first baby, the important times – and these notes would be penned before she died, but to be opened on the day to tell me how much she was still part of these memorable moments in time. I think in reality a bit like P.S. I love you.
I asked her to do this for me and she smiled at me sitting in her chair and I could see the physical life draining from her day by day as the sickness took hold. A couple of days later she spoke to me and said: “you know the way you want me to put these notes aside for you. That’s not my way. Whether living or dying, I’m not that kind of person. I can’t become that person just because I’m not going to be here, you know that.” I think now of how hard it must have been for her to have that conversation with me at such a tender age.
My mother gave me the greatest ever gift in life. She made me feel like her work her on earth was done. That she had accomplished all she needed with my brother and I. We were raised to the best of her abilities and she had another job to do. I used to joke that she made me feel like she was heading off on a UN peace commission and we were not part of it.
I now know it is in dying that we empower those we leave behind most. In dying, Mum, you gave us confidence to carry on without you, a hell of a gift from a mother. For that I will be eternally grateful.

– Anne-Marie Curran, Dublin

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