Remembering my perfect, beautiful, talented, unfailingly loving mother, Estelle Mary Brisco Dowrick, who died of cancer a month after her 38th birthday. It remains agonisingly incomprehensible to me that not only did my older sister Geraldine and I spend most of our lives without her loving, reassuring, inspiring presence, but that she also missed so very very much – truly decades of what would have been a creative, vibrant, loving life. Yes, she lives in our hearts. But nothing fills that absence.
On this Mothers Day, I send special love and prayers to all whose mothers left this life (and them) far far too early. We pay a most terrible price for that, and my prayer is simple: May you find the strength to “mother” yourself, however imperfectly. May you mother others well, whatever your gender, and however imperfectly. May you live life to the full, even in the infinitely long shadow of your mother’s absence. May you know joy.
(Some of you may know that in my 30s, near to the age my mother was when she died, and around the time I became a mother myself, I wrote a novel called Running Backwards Over Sand. It is – and is not -autobiographical. It is also far braver, I believe, than anything I could write now. There are copies around…should you find and read it, know that it was the young Stephanie who wrote it: not least to honour a deeply-missed woman who died far too soon.)