Memories of Mum


My Christmas present from my brother Nigel and sister-in-law Kim was late getting to me, owing to the inevitable delay at Customs that takes even longer than usual owing to the Covid crisis.

I am utterly overwhelmed by it: two collages with various pieces from Mum’s clothes. Anyone who knew Mum will know that she loved her clothes; even when she could no longer leave the house, she was still ordering them online.

The jewels move me to tears – she loved her sparkly bits; likewise, the lovely amber and rust colors – the ones I always said suited her most. I can picture her tiny hands (the only adult hands I ever saw that were smaller than mine) around the pearl buttons; the wool reminds me of her vast winter wardrobe that became lodgings for moths when she could no longer go upstairs to dress herself.

There are remnants of the time she spent in Brunei, where my father went to work: a piece of silk and a beautiful, embroidered jeweled design from a dress she bought in Singapore, when she pretty much cleaned out the clothes shops there; a crocheted half-moon from her favorite nightdress.

What strikes me most is the vibrancy: every piece a tribute to her love of life before she became infirm.

It is the most wonderful present I have ever received: so breathtakingly thoughtful, and lovingly put together by Kim, who Mum adored (as do I).

I feel that I will always have a piece of Mum with me, literally and metaphorically, and, although the tears have not stopped pouring since I received them, I am also smiling, remembering the mirrored doors that kept falling off because the contents inside literally burst the wardrobe seams; her exquisite dress sense and the way she was always so perfectly turned out; the lingering scent of the perfume on the clothes after she died.

There is so much here that is the essence of Mum, and the beautiful card that accompanied the gift was likewise so thoughtful, and carefully chosen; the words so tender.

My heart is bursting.

I have never felt so loved and cared for.