My mum passed away nearly three weeks ago. It still feels strange to see those words on the screen. It was expected, but not as quickly as the end came. It doesn’t matter what the cause of her death was (a stage IV cancer), just the fact that she’s gone.
But what’s important is the memories of her; those we shared as a family and others from those who knew her when she was still my age and younger, still finding her way in the world.
Back in the late 60s things were changing fast, but it was still a bit unusual for a young women to take her love of languages and work abroad. First she spent several years as an au pair for a family in Germany. She still kept in touch with them, and attended the 80th birthday of the mother only two years ago.
When she came back to London she joined Lloyds Bank in their international arm, working overseas in Amsterdam and then Geneva where, as she used to tell me, her flat was in the red light district!
Although she didn’t talk about those times much, it inspired me to think how much she did at a time it wasn’t the norm for a women to go off on her own and work abroad.
Both my parents loved to travel in Europe but my mum only made it further afield twice, to Israel and to the US. My dad keeps a subscription to Lonely Planet magazine; mum said that they used to buy these magazines and dream about going to these amazing places, and then their daughter and son-in-law would go and bring back photos and stories.
Many years ago when I was going through a rough time my mum gave me a silver bracelet. I wore that thing for almost a year, almost every day. Engraved on it were these words (my mum always loved a good motivational quote):
Go boldly in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.