A tale of two mothers

“You only have two lives, you start living the second life when you realise you only have one” Clare Greig


One mother’s patience is wearing thin with her 2 year old son who ‘didn’t want a nap’.

Another mother is saying her final goodbye’s to her two precious children and their father from her hospital bed.


One mother is wishing her son would just-go-to-sleep as she rocks him endlessly in the dark.

Another mother’s children don’t understand why mummy isn’t there to tuck them in.


One mother is preparing dinner while her son and husband play trains on the floor.

Another mother’s hands lay idle across her chest as her body finally rests.


One mother is listening to the not-very-sleepy giggles coming from her son’s bedroom as his father dresses him for bedtime.

Another mother’s husband sits quietly, questioning his ability to raise two children on his own.


One mother cradles her son in her arms long after he falls asleep, not yet ready to let go of his warm embrace.

Another mother’s children and husband attend her funeral supported by family and friends, also summoning the strength to let go.

This week I felt an indescribable sadness when I heard that another mum, whom I have never even met, lost her courageous battle with cancer. I can’t explain why this has touched me so deeply. Is it the perspective you only get when there is enough distance between yourself and the departed that you find space for the clarity required to determine what our ‘real’ problems (if any) are as opposed to the perceived ones?

My social media feed has been flooded with tributes to this stranger all week, I recognised her name from being in the same circles but I didn’t know her at all. She has left an incredible legacy among her friends and community and I couldn’t help but be drawn to seek out this angel. 

I am overwhelmed with tears as I try to comprehend that feeling of awareness that one wouldn’t be there to share precious future moments; the endless artwork proudly brought home from school, playing taxi service to weekly activities, wiping wet sniffly noses, meeting new friends, celebrating every milestone big and small – catching a ball, new teeth, riding a bike, graduations, first jobs, weddings and cuddling grandchildren.

“The silver lining in this diagnosis is I have never felt in my life so present, and so utterly aware of what matters and how much I have to be grateful for. When something like this happens all the small bull$#!^, petty stuff, that fills our lives and relationships falls away, and all that is left is love.” Clare Greig

In the reliable day to day flow of life, it is very easy to take for granted everything we have. We rarely stop to appreciate that each of our loved ones are happy, healthy and safe – we don’t know any different, we are blissfully ignorant. Sometimes if we are going through a hard time, we long for those ‘boring’ times when life’s daily routine ticks over like a reliable clock – ‘I would give anything just for a nice boring day, when nothing exciting or dramatic happens, but we are all happy, healthy and safe, that’s all.’

Tonight, I lit a candle for Clare. Farewell and Godspeed mother.

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