This Blog started back in 2011 when I was fed up with my Mum’s repetitive Cancer diagnosis, and I wanted to understand what made us truly ‘well’. I wrote a whole bunch of ideas down, and posted them on here, about things that I experienced in my own personal health journey. Over time, I became more in tune with my own body and listening to it’s delicate voice. In many ways, this search evolved into something much deeper for me. A passion was born, but I didn’t know which form it was going to take. In 2013 my gorgeous Mum lost her very brave and what seemed an everlasting battle. After her passing, an incredible grief was upon me, and yet I did not have time to fully sit in this feeling and experience it because I soon found out that I was soon to be come a mother myself. Accepting that I would become a ‘Motherless Mother’ in such a small space of time is something I still think about and has taken a long time to fully accept.
Fast forward 5 years, life is very different to where I ever thought I would be.
I now have 2 beautiful children who I am incredibly grateful for. Despite some challenging circumstances over the past few years, they continue to keep me grounded and have taught, me so much. And they are literally the reason I rise everyday! It’s fair to say that the older they get, the exhausting physical challenges of being a Mum to two young ones, is replaced by more quality time, exploring the world with them and I feel so lucky to be their Mum. It is my favourite role out of all the hats I wear.
I haven’t had much time to put my thoughts down the past few years, but now as the storms around me seem to have settled I feel a bit more steady, I feel confident again to write on here. To carve out some space for me. So, what does that looks like? If I had to sum it up, it would be everyday happiness. My Mum used to say “Life is what happens while we are busy making plans”.
I haven’t written about grief before. It is such a huge emotion and has consumed so many hours of the past few years of my life. Sometimes I did not even know what it was but it was there. I have thought about it a lot. Felt it immensely. And in the past 12 months incredibly so.
Today marks 4 years since my beautiful Mum died. But for me it is doubly hard as it’s also 7 years today since I got married. Double whammy. My mother died on my wedding anniversary which in some way I wonder if she knew? Since he and I are no longer, today is feeling like the hardest day of the year from me…so many raw wounds reopened, so many memories come flooding back. I remember much of the fateful day 4 years ago when the doctors said there was ‘no more’ they could do and saying goodbye. Although we didn’t really say goodbye, we still thought we were going to beat it right until the end. It had been a long battle for her, and so very trying on all of us. Yet my mum never complained. Can you imagine the agony and anxiety she felt day after day? It overwhelms me to just think about it. Those long lonely nights in hospital, the beeping machines, the nurses in the ICU and the rounds and rounds of tests and needles and just everything about it all. It really defined her life for so many years. I spent something like 79 days straight visiting her in the hospital – doing what little I could to ease her suffering. Bringing in home made green smoothies, foot massage, watching TV together, chatting to doctors, and talking about life and planing the future together. I was very lucky to have had the time to spend with her and although I’m sad she didn’t get to meet my kids, I try hard to look to the positives of her passing before they were born. I certainly would not have had the time to spend with her in the hospital had the children been around.
I have been feeling a bit down lately, and I listened to a podcast that told me a cure for depression is gratitude, so today I want to be be grateful for all the wonderful things in my life! I’ve been able to experience the most profound joy and happiness with the births of my two glorious children, who really, are the epitome of my mum. Happy, cheeky, smiley, love life, love people, make the room smile whenever they walk into it and every time I look at their blue eyes, I see her. My daughter Olivia has a profound likeness of my mum, and I do think part of the soul of my mum is in her. I constantly think I ‘wish mum was here’, but then I look at Olivia and say ‘here she is’! My beautiful children, you are my grief tonic.
So grief, somedays you may be like a wave and completely overtake me, but as time goes on I realise that life can co-exist alongside you. I can swim in your ocean. These days, there is more space now to breathe, and function along-side you. You do not control me. I go on everyday with the thought in mind that ‘this too will make me stronger’ and if I could even be as strong for 5 minutes as my mum was in all those lonely years with her illness, then I will forever be grateful for that gift.
All 3 major things in my life have changed since then.
I now have 2 gorgeous kids who are one and three years old respectively, my mum isn’t here anymore and most recently my husband and I have separated. They are some pretty substantial and ground-breaking changes. And I am now at a complete point in my life where I am wondering what does my future look like, and where is my life is going to go….???
It’s so scary, it makes me nervous, it feels incredibly hard and lonely and it makes me so sad….but I also know deep down that I need to work through these feelings. I need to process all of the loss, and somehow carve out a new future. And in many ways there is great excitement with that. How blessed I am to have the opportunity to recalibrate my life with so much love and friendship holding me up.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted properly or with any regularity here…the past 3 years have seen me lose my mum, become a mum twice over, and adjust to all that in between raising two kids and supporting my husband and finishing off my Institute of Integrative Nutrition Course. I must confess there hasn’t been a lot of time to ‘Nurture’ this Mother in between the chaos and fun that is life! I first started writing this blog as I became fascinated with health and wellness and wanted to understand what really made us feel truly ‘well’. And what I could do to support my mum as she was facing a tough cancer battle.
It helped plant the seed for so much of my own personal discovery into health and wellness, and what I could do to really thrive and feel great, not just survive. It seems everyone is busy, everyone is ‘time-poor’ and although we are working harder than ever we are sicker than ever and more exhausted than ever. Dr Libby (drlibby.com) has been a long time mentor for me and it doesn’t surprise me that her game-changing book “Rushing Women’s Syndrome” still dominates shelf space. I’m proud in hind-sight of how relevant the title of this blog was as Mother Nurture. Like most busy Mum’s I don’t have a lot of spare time but I hope to be able to share some interesting thoughts and article links with you here.
One of the things my mum is remembered for and which was very special for our family is her cooking. Her cooking and understanding of flavours was amazing, and always brought us together. Whether it was a special occasion like a birthday or just a regular mid-week meal, the food was always restaurant quality. One of the lovely things that has happened to me since her passing, is discovering a recipe book she made for me with some of her favourite recipes and personalised handwritten notes about when to best serve these dishes, what I liked as a little girl and other special cooking tips.
One recipe I’d like to share with you is her lovely Chicken Marbella. Just the smell of it in the house makes me think of her and my siblings too all find great comfort in this meal. I’ve adjusted it to make it ‘sugar free’ but I’ve kept in the prunes which I think are a key part of the dish. A lovely moist chicken piece with freshly steamed greens and sweet potato mash – food for the soul.
This one is for you Mum. x
8- 10 organic chicken thighs
1 whole head of garlic
1/4 cup dried oregano
Course sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 Spanish green olives
1/2 capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1/2 cup of rice malt syrup
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup Italian parsley finely chopped
In a large bowl combine chicken, garlic, oregano, pepper an salt, vinegar, Olive Oil, Prunes, Olives, capers, lime juice and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate in the fridge overnight.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Arrange chicken in pan and pour white wine around the pieces, then bake 45mins – 1hr, basting with the juice over the top regularly.
Serve with mashed sweet potato, steamed broccolini and sprinkle with parsley. Use organic ingredients where you can, most importantly the chicken!
I’ve taken some time out from writing of late, to do the title of this blog, some nurturing of my own dear Mum.
Since her diagnosis last year, she has undergone six months of chemotherapy and then three months ago has had the courage to undergo a revolutionary bone marrow transplant. It’s not an easy transplant, with many risks associated with it. Unfortunately, there were some complications and it did not go as well as we’d like to expect, however our dear Mum put up the most incredible fight and showed more courage and depth of spirit than I could have ever expected of anyone. I have such a huge admiration and the utmost respect for her. Sadly, she lost her battle last month. But, we know that if anyone could have beat it, it would have been my mum.
It’s been a massive journey for us all, and as a daughter and not a doctor there is only so much I can do. But I do believe that it’s the bits we have done as a family are the reason she has made it this far. From the years of support with chemotherapy, love, friendship and above all supporting her and her wishes for treatment, we’ve been there. As much as we’d like a different result, it is what it is. And in this last month, the incredible ties that have bound our amazing family together have been monumental. What a legacy she has left behind. How in awe I am of her. And how blessed I am that we have been there with her for this journey. Apart from the obvious of visiting her everyday, we have given her comfort, we have become knowledgeable in the entire BMT subject area, we’ve arranged masseuses so she too can have a little bit of her own nurturing, friends have come by, we’ve sat with her and most of all, shared time together while loving one another and nurturing her.
There will not be a day that goes by that I won’t think of my dear Mum. And I already miss her dreadfully. But, I’m aware that she was such a special lady, I believe she has done all she can for this lifetime, no doubt already she is busy in the next lifetime, doing amazing things elsewhere, making other people smile and feel special. And I can’t wait to see her again one day.
Thanks for your support on this blog. I plan to get back into it, and discover a bit more and share here about my own health journey as time marches on.