elderly woman gardening

(Photo credit: http://www.healthtap.com)

Ok – so this isn’t a picture of my Mum and those plants aren’t actually geraniums, but to all intents and purposes, both of those things could have been facts as that’s exactly what my Mum would have been doing at this time of year if she were still here. She loved geraniums of all colours and would have been repotting them all into bigger pots as they would have grown after their dormant period in the dark and damp basement of the house. They would have all been neatly arranged on the patio outside the kitchen, making a huge splash of colour in the garden.

In fact, this was actually what she was doing along with mowing the grass, cutting the hedge and tying up raspberry canes just two weeks before she had her stroke last year. She remained in hospital from then until the day she passed away just before the New Year this year.

I miss my Mum. I hurt. I’m still hurting. I don’t when or if the hurting ever stops. I have photos of her in my living room and by my bed and yet, believe it or not, I can’t look at them. I cannot look at my Mum. I just am not able to ‘make eye-contact’ with her. Perhaps, it’s too early. Perhaps it’s the pain of not having her here anymore. Maybe, it’s the shame. Perhaps, the guilt that I wrote about in a previous post is telling me that she would be ashamed of me.

I can vaguely scan past the photos. I know the one on my desk in front of me so well. It was a photo I had which was taken only weeks before Mum had her stroke. It’s a picture of her in the garden which was always a sanctuary for her, with the big honeysuckle rambling up a large trellis covering part of the brickwork of the house behind her and next to that are the peach-coloured, climbing roses clambering up the wooden fence. The patio in front of her, adorned with pots, large and small of her favourite geraniums, orange, white and red, all in full bloom.

But, every time my eyes catch the slightest glimpse of her face or her eyes or smile in the photos, my heart is wrenched from my chest, and my mind is screaming, “Noooooo ….”  I cannot cry – I really can’t. My eyes are prickling from the sheer pressure of my tears building up behind my eyelids and fighting to get out. Maybe, I can’t can’t cry because I’m afraid that if I start, I won’t ever be able to stop. I want to go and visit her grave and lay fresh flowers there, but it’s 50 miles away with no public transport with wheelchair access so impossible. Sometimes, I still feel so close to her and almost forget for a second that she has gone. At other times, she seems so very far away.

All the legalities regarding the will, probate and selling the house are continuing to go on in the background. It’s so hard to think of my childhood home being taken over by someone else. Who knows what will happen to it … maybe, it will house another family for many more years although there is also the possibility that it will be completely gutted and turned into several flats and that’s much harder to stomach. Moving on, emotionally, isn’t easy but I have to remember too, that it was only five months ago that Mum was with us and living in that house.

Mum was a great one for ‘keeping things’, usually followed by, “It’ll come in useful for something”, a trait that I’ve inherited. Amongst all the ‘useful somethings’, we’ve unearthed photo albums, not just of our childhoods but also of Mum when she was growing up and even some of my great-grandmother in the 1800’s … real treasure … a pictorial history of my family on my Mum’s side … fascinating. It’s going to take me forever to sort through all of those photos and distribute them to our remaining family. They’ll certainly provide me with lots of happy and no doubt, funny memories too which will probably eventually get passed down to my grandchildren and who knows, perhaps their grandchildren one day? Actual history in the making. Mum would be pleased.

Author: Ellie Thompson

Writing my memoirs, musings, a little fiction and a lot of poetry as a way of exploring and making the most of my life ... ... Having had a break from writing my blog for more than three years, I decided to return to write my memoirs, some day-to-day observations, views and feelings. My passion is non-fiction poetry. I have a disability and use an electric powerchair called Alfie and let nothing get in the way of living life to the full. I believe that you can never do a kindness too soon and should give credit where credit is due. A smile or a kind word could make the difference between a good or bad day for a person - we never know what's going on for another soul. Those little things, perhaps, practised daily like a mantra, could mean so much to someone else. Thank you for visiting my blog and reading a little more about me. Please, make yourself at home here. You are very welcome. Ellie x 😊


  1. hi ellie, i’m so sorry that you have lost your mom, the grief must be overwhelming, if you ever need to talk I am always here, you can always email me. sending hugs to you, xoxo

    1. Thank you, Carol anne. I’m sorry to keep ‘going on’ about my grief and not writing about something a bit more interesting and uplifting. I’m actually having a better day today so am making the most of it. I hope to be back to writing about less sombre things very soon. I will catch up with your recent posts in the next couple of days. There’s been so much to do and deal with, I haven’t really kept up with anybody’s blogs. Thanks for listening. Love and hugs for you too, Ellie xxx ❤

      1. Ellie you should never apologise for having feelings, it’s okay honestly, right about what you need to write about where all here for you rooting for you hoping that you will be okay, I’m glad you had a better day today

  2. Just a suggestion, Ellie – look at the photos of your mum. Make eye contact. Talk to her. Tell her what you’re feeling. I think it will help, although I obviously cannot guarantee it. Sending you strength. X

    1. Thanks for your comment, Mick. Also, for your kind suggestions – I really appreciate them and although my first and instant response is, “I can’t do that”, I can see the sense in what you are saying. I think I am fearful of what I might feel if I make that connection and worried that whatever I am feeling may never stop. On the other hand, I know that all I am doing is postponing the inevitable. I am afraid that the intensity of what I will feel will totally overwhelm me and my feelings will become out of my control. Control is such a big issue for me (hardly surprising given my total lack of control in my past childhood experiences).

      Nevertheless, I am seriously considering your suggestion. I think you may be right and that it may help me in the long run. I can’t hide from my feelings (or Mum’s photos) for the rest of my life and if I do, the damage done in the long run will outweigh the damage I fear now. If I can manage to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ [also the title of a self-help book by Susan Jeffers] it will probably help me to heal more quickly.

      Sorry, Mick, I’m now aware that I’ve been ‘waffling’ in my last two paragraphs – I think it is an avoidance tactic or something to which I can hear my Mum saying, “stop beating around the bush” so perhaps, I ought to listen to her advice too.

      Thanks again, Mick and also for the strength you are sending – it’s much appreciated and I’m sure will be helpful, Ellie x

  3. I wasn’t too surprised to hear about how difficult you’ve found it to look at your mother’s photographs, Ellie. People cope with grief differently and when someone so close passes away, there are bound to be very powerful emotions swirling away inside. My guess is that you will look at the photographs when the time is right for you.

    1. It’s so good to see you back at WordPress, Bun – I appreciate you popping in when I know you have so much else going on at the moment. Thanks, as always, for understanding and yes, you are right (as I’m sure you know from your own experiences) grief often does and can bring very overpowering emotions.
      I have been feeling a bit less sombre the last couple of days which I’m hoping is a good sign so I hope to be back writing on other topics other than my grief soon. Hope to see you blogging here again very soon although I know you’re very busy right now. I miss your wonderful and uplifting humour. Stay well, my friend x

      1. Thanks very much, Ellie. That’s very kind of you. I’m looking forward to getting back to the blogging world at some point.

        It’s great to hear that you’ve been feeling a little less sombre over the past few days. I think you’re surely right that it is a good sign.

        Take care,

  4. I’m so sorry about your mother. And I’m glad you have those photos, even if you don’t want to look at them now. Someday, they might be a source of comfort rather than grief, but until then, do what you need to take care of yourself!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and for your kind comments. Although my Mum passed away five months ago, I still don’t think I’ve even come to terms with it and although I am able to write about her death and her life, it still feels so unreal. I’m still rather scared about how I will cope with it when it finally hits home. Thank you for caring. Ellie x

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