Letter to my Mother on the Anniversary of her Death

October 10, 2013 | 16 Comments

CNV00030Dear Mom

Here you are with your daughters. Today it’s been three years exactly since we lost you – you left us on the 10th of October 2010.

Us humans will try and find symbolism and meaning in every loss which is why I like to think that the date was significant. A perfectly matched set of numbers on what was my darkest day: 10.10.10

So much has happened since you died:

  • The granddaughter we placed in your arms when you were ill has grown from a squidgy baby to a confident, kind and articulate 3-year-old. She has my eyes and her father’s hair and I’m so proud of her. I wish you could see her.
  • We bought a house. You always told me to save, even in my early twenties when it was the last thing I wanted to do. You stayed with us in our tiny London flat and listened to me as I moaned about sharing a house with flatmates even after I was married.
  • But it was all worth it because now we have a house. If you were here I would be calling you up about my roses and you’d be making curtains for my kitchen and telling me the best way to get rid of ants. It is an old house and we still don’t have a lot of furniture in it, but it is a house full of love.
  • I’ve started writing. For real this time. I left my job in book publishing and now write for a living, as well as for fun on this blog. Every time I get something published on a website or in a magazine I want to send it to you, for YOUR approval because you are still what I measure everything against, my successes and my failures.
  • I’ve started my own company with a friend. And even though we’re only just over a year old, we seem to be making a success of it.  Every time we get a big contract or sign up a new client, I want to call and tell you all about it. We always knew that the written word was my particular skill and I regret that you never got to see me thrive as a writer.
  • I’ve had a son. I once told you how I thought I was more of a “boy” mom and you said you could picture me with a son one day. Well, now he is here and I love him with every piece of my heart. You would too.

Your absence is still felt every day. When I see other grandmothers picking up their grandkids from Rachel’s nursery school. When I see a mother and daughter shopping together and sharing a joke. When I’m lying in bed sick and it feels as though no one is as concerned about me as you used to be. A mother is your champion in the corner, the person who always has your back. I miss that most of all.

On the day of your funeral I sat on the verandah of the new house you’d built with Dad. The house with a view of the sea, the house you had just retired to. I sat there and felt such emptiness – I needed a sign that you were still with me. I kept reciting the poem we were going to read at your funeral, like a mantra over and over in my head because it was the only thing to bring me comfort:

Do not stand at my grave and weep; I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glint on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush, I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars at night

Do not stand at my grave and weep;

I am not there, I do not sleep.*

And as I said those words to myself, a gigantic heron rose up from the long wet grass, not metres from where I was sitting and spread its graceful wings and soared into the sky. It was the “swift uplifting rush” that I’d been searching for. It was the sign I so needed.

I have tried to find meaning in your death and meaning I have found in abundance. But I have also begun to realise that the world is not ordered and not just and your death was just the start of that. Ultimately, I suppose I lost my innocence on the day you died too.

So today we will mourn the loss of you, but I will also mourn the loss of the girl I once was. I miss you Mom and my heart is heavy with loss today but also heavy with so much love.

All my love,

Your oldest daughter xxx

*Poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye


  • Reply Adi Mountain October 10, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Wow B…you have us all crying. This is lovely xx

  • Reply bepeajay October 10, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Your mom would be so proud of you. Your writing always stirs up such emotion. Thinking of you today and sending love to you xx

  • Reply Kroon October 10, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Hi Belinda   Sorry to bother, but I have downloaded todays beautiful blog but can only print one page (up to ‘the best way to get..’ ). I want to take it to BBC just now. Is there anyway you can help.   LoL, Jenny



  • Reply Nicky October 10, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I really shouldn’t have read this at work. I have tears streaming down my face along with my mascara! So beautifully written, my heart goes out to you today (and always!) Big hugs xx

  • Reply Jenny Kroon October 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Thank you for this Bea. Mom really would be proud of you. We all feel a great loss, but know that you will always be her champion and carry on in her footsteps.

  • Reply Gareth October 10, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Rae, Ben and I are so proud of you. We love you always x

  • Reply belindamountain October 10, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks everyone, a very special day – appreciate your thoughts. x

  • Reply Anonymous October 10, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    What a beautiful letter, Ann is always in my thoughts. Love Sandra

  • Reply Anonymous October 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Beautifully written letter Bee, thinking of you and sending you lots of love and strength x

  • Reply Anonymous October 11, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Thanks for this beautifully written letter Bea – your Mom meant so much to all her family and friends. She will never leave my heart.Love, Sue

  • Reply belindamountain October 11, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Thank you everyone for your thoughts. x

  • Reply hayley October 15, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    I am still so lucky to have my Mom, and thus post just made me realise how I take the every day stuff I do with her for granted.

    Thank you for the reminder…


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    Oh wow, tears!! I remember studying that poem in high school and being shouted at by my teacher for crying. She hought I was “putting it on” and seeking attention. But I wasn’t, I loved it then and I love it now. And I love what you have said here. You put into words what so many women must feel when they lose their moms. It made me cry because I realised that my mom will go too, and I will be faced with these feelings too. Please remind me to come back to this post.

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