Today we celebrate the life of a woman who was as vibrant and varied as the many chapters of the incredible story she authored — my Mum.
Born in July 1946, she was the quintessential 1960s wild child, a spirit that never dimmed, even as the decades turned. Her life? A glorious patchwork quilt of ‘I-did-it-my-ways’ and ‘watch-this’ moments.
She embarked on the journey of motherhood with me, and though her marriage to my Dad was brief, it set the stage for the many adventures to come.
At seven I became her sidekick as we ventured to Norway with Hasse, the Norwegian Viking she charmed while on holiday in Majorca.. Oslo was our home, where we both learned to ski, often unintentionally choosing the ‘mystery route’ down the mountain with hilarious consequences.
The plot thickened as we sailed to Majorca, living on the Motor Yacht Tamara, yes, named after our giant schnauzer because, in Mum’s words, “If you can’t name a boat after your dog, what’s the point of having a boat?”. There we created memories that would anchor us for a lifetime.
But Mum’s journey was not just one of places, but also of spirit and mind. She delved deep into the teachings of The Course of Miracles, seeking a higher understanding and living her life by those profound lessons for years to come.
a beacon of nonconformity, living life on her own terms; vibrant and indomitable
When London called me back as a teenager in need of direction, Mum, stayed in that sun-kissed land for nearly a decade more, until the Viking saga came to its close, and she like all great explorers, returned to her home port.
Back in London she married again, for a third time, to Dickie, with his rugby player’s build and a gardener’s gentle touch, he brought her a sense of peace and partnership. Together, they planted and cultivated a garden that rivalled Eden in its beauty. They cooked, they laughed, and they loved before he was taken at the age of just fifty seven to cancer.
Mum was an integral part of our home life. Her presence on family holidays an essential thread in the tapestry of our memories. One such memory was during a trip to Israel for Pesach, where Mum, ever the challenger of norms, engaged in what you would describe as a “spirited” debate with the hotel staff about their premature banishment of bread from the entire hotel, a full three days before Pesach commenced. It was just her way of ensuring tradition did not overshadow practicality. Back at home, she was a constant, cherished presence, dropping by to spend time with me, Kate, and her beloved grandchildren, Grace, Anna, and Guy. Her visits were never just a courtesy; they were filled with laughter, stories, and the kind of love that only a grandmother could give, the kind that stays with you long after the moment has passed.
In the last ten years of her vibrant journey, fortune smiled upon her as Quentin came into her life. His love was a quiet, resolute force that helped steady her during the turbulent waves of her health battles. He stood by her as a pillar of strength and comfort, exemplifying the power of unwavering companionship.
Mum lived her life on a loop of her own making, pausing, playing, and stopping the tune of life as she saw fit. Her decisions made with the certainty of someone who knew that the only approval needed was her own. She was a beacon of nonconformity, living life on her own terms; vibrant and indomitable, up until the very end.
her entire approach to life; stoic, undeterred, and profoundly dignified
Her eighteen year battle with cancer (first bowel and then lung) was like her approach to a ski slope on the wrong skis, unorthodox, and utterly remarkable. She was the outlier that doctors marvelled at, the statistical anomaly that lived and breathed defiance. Each scan was faced with a sense of theatrical drama. Would this be the cliffhanger, the twist in the plot? But she outlived every prediction, much to her own surprise and certainly to the bewilderment of her oncologist.
Amidst everything, her Pilates routine, a symbol of her dedication to life, brought her remarkable recoveries that left even medical professionals in awe.
Throughout her encounter with cancer, Mum’s response was typical of her entire approach to life; stoic, undeterred, and profoundly dignified. She tackled the relentless waves of surgeries and treatments and the uncertainty of outcomes with a stoicism that was as inspiring as it was humbling. There was never room for pity or despair in her vocabulary. Instead, she confronted each day with a quiet strength and an inner resolve that seemed to say, “I am here, I am present, and I will endure.” This period of her life, rife with challenges, was met not with complaints or questions of ‘why me?’ but with a calm acceptance and a readiness to face whatever came her way. Her stoicism was not about indifference but about courage, a resolute acceptance of reality.
Her love for me was a constant, as reliable as the turning of the earth. Our bond, unspoken yet understood, was one of my life’s great certainties. Our midnight toasts on New Year’s Eve, no matter the distance between us, are memories I will cherish and continue in her honour.
Your life was a magnificent journey
As her only child, I stand before you, profoundly grateful for the unconditional love, the lessons of resilience, and the legacy of independence she has bequeathed to me. Her life was a journey of love, learning, and laughter, and though her physical presence is no longer with us, the essence of who she was; a wild child, a loving mother and grandmother, a relentless fighter, a seeker of knowledge, will forever be etched in our hearts.
To my Mum, a true outlier in life and in love, your spirit will forever be the wind in my sails. I will miss you more than words can express, but I will carry you with me always, in every adventure, every challenge, and every quiet moment. Your life was a magnificent journey, and I am eternally grateful to have been your son, your companion, along the way.
Rest in peace, dear Mum, until we meet again.