Wednesday 21 October 2020

The Best Mum

My mum was the best Mum in the whole wide world... ever. I would tell her that regularly. In fact at some point it became a kind of 'in joke' between us, and I wrote it in nearly every card I ever sent her once I became a young adult. I always meant it, and I knew it to be true. I love this photo, taken when my mum and I had a special mother-daughter trip to the Ritz for Afternoon Tea some years ago:
white haired lady, steph's mum, sitting at a table in the Ritz with a big smile and afternoon tea in front of her
My mum passed away three weeks ago, aged just 75. There's so much I would love to tell everyone about her, about how amazing she was, but for now it's too raw, too emotional and I can't find all the words. I didn't want to let her go without mention here on my blog though.

I know that my mum was proud of me for many things; pretty much everything I ever did. That included this blog and the sharing I've done on social media to help other families. My parents have both been so supportive of me and our family from the very beginning. My parenting skills or the Pathological Demand Avoidance strategies which I found I needed to use for our youngest were never questioned. There was an acceptance and understanding that everything I was doing, I was doing with love. A huge, overwhelming love for my children. I know my mum understood that, because she was the one who taught me what love was.

All through my younger years my dad worked away at sea in the Merchant Navy. He would spend up to six months at a time away and then be home for an equivalent amount of time, which was a nice bonus. For my mum though, that effectively meant she was raising three children as a single parent for six months of the year, as well as working. I never once heard her complain about that. She got on with it and did what she had to do, with a smile on her face. 

Last summer, after months of back pain which led to her being unable to walk, Mum was eventually rushed to A&E after an MRI. That gave us the shock news that she had stage 4 lung cancer, and it had spread to her spine. It's important to note (and I know Mum would have wanted me to) that my mum never smoked a day in her life. Not all lung cancer is caused by smoking. My mum was extra unique because there was no visible tumour in her lung, and she didn't really suffer from the other symptoms which is why the cancer was not picked up sooner. She underwent major surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible and was thankfully able to walk again. 

Mum endured radiotherapy followed by five rounds of chemotherapy which made her very ill around Christmas time. Amazingly, her hair never fell out, which I know she was very grateful for. Her kidneys were irreparably damaged however and the cancer was not gone. She still smiled and rarely complained; in fact I think she did her best to hide from us all the pain she was in, both physically and mentally.

Lockdown caused anguish for us all as we knew time was limited. I'm so grateful that restrictions were eased enough for me to be able to spend time with her again over summer. Lockdown is causing more pain now as we've had to cope with arranging a funeral for just 30 people in church, and only 10 afterwards at the final goodbye. We know that the church would have been packed full of family and friends and everybody whose life she touched at any other time - she was a teacher locally for many years.

Mum's final days were spent in Trinity Hospice in Blackpool. I will never forget the care and compassion that was extended to both of my parents, and me and my brothers, during this period of time. The staff there were all amazing, kind and patient, and did their very best in the difficult virus-related circumstances. This page below is a Tribute page set up for my mum, where comments can be left in her name and if anybody feels like adding anything, I know our family will appreciate it. It can be found at  or by clicking the image below:

At the funeral, I am going to do my very best to read out the poem by David Harkins below. I think my mum would have loved it.

'You can shed tears that she is gone,

Or you can smile because she has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back,

Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her

Or you can be full of the love that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday

Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember her and only that she is gone

Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back

Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.'

One thing you learn after a diagnosis like this is that there's never enough time. You want more, you want to be able to rewind the clock. There are also never enough photos or videos. We've got so many happy memories and I'm grateful that I do have photos. I wish some were better quality, and I wish there was more video. Over the next few weeks and months I will make it my mission to remind others to take those photos and videos, and make sure that you have the important people in them. It's never too soon. Once you get to the point where you know time is limited, everything becomes much more difficult. So do it now.

Cancer has taken my mum but it can't take away the memories. We had a fun mum, who gave us the biggest cuddles. She was the Best Mum.


To find out more about our experiences, please check out our 'About Us' page. If you are looking for more information on Pathological Demand Avoidance, the posts below may help.

Books about the Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) profile of autism

What is PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance)?

Ten things you need to know about Pathological Demand Avoidance

Does my child have Pathological Demand Avoidance?

The difference between PDA and ODD

Strategies for PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance)

Pathological Demand Avoidance: Strategies for Schools

Challenging Behaviour and PDA

Is Pathological Demand Avoidance real?

Autism with demand avoidance or Pathological Demand Avoidance?

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  1. What a beautiful tribute to your wonderful mum, Steph. I utterly love that poem too. Sending you so much love xxx

  2. I lost my mother just 2 weeks ago. She was 86, with dementia. I am so much feeling your pain. Prayers.

    1. Huge hugs to you. There is much pain. But I'm focusing on all the happy times x

  3. Sending much love Steph, your Mum was most definitely the best Mum ever xx

    1. Thank you. I mean, I know I'm biased, but it makes me happier to know that :) x

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