Posted by: Joan Spiller | November 24, 2010

My Mum died 1 year ago tmrw..

Kind of hard to believe that this time last year, my Mum was still alive. Working too hard @ her job (tending to every elderly and infirm patient in HB), and in her spare time pottering in her ridiculously large flower garden, with her cats and dog ~ oh so happily.

Even after the diabetes took hold and she had her leg amputated, that missing leg didn’t stop her from getting out into that damn garden. I never got it, I hate gardening. But it was her ‘thing’, her relaxation. Sad to see how over-grown / neglected it is now.. but anyway..

I remember wincing when I saw (one time) and heard of her (@other times) falling over a few times out in her garden – something that obviously was a big worry to Dad. Ever the loving husband, he bought her a whistle so that she could call him if she needed it.

I think he regretted it after the first few times when she thought she’d just peep on the whistle and see if he’d bring her a cup of tea lol

You can see the spark of “wicked” in her eyes in this pic..

Mum was a “strange” lady. So painfully shy (I’m a lot like her .. snort) .. I remember one time she was staying with me and the ex idiot oops I mean husband, 15 or so years ago, in Auckland. We got a visitor and Mum scurried off to hide in her room and / or not be in the way. Seriously, she was that shy.

Which didn’t ever stack up when you think she had to see patients every day of her working life, sort all their problems out, making sure they had whatever they needed and generally being “Dr Mum” to them all.

She disappeared in a crowded room, you just didn’t see her .. No mean feat for a big maori lady .. She was there,  just not ever out spoken or noisy (again, like me … no one is buying this, huh lol)

Mum was quiet, reserved, shy and calm. And now she’s dead.

I never finished the whole sorry saga (via blog posts) of her death. From the disgusting behaviour of the idiot minister of her church, to the marae experience, to the fact that she’s not there to listen to me burble on about the dumb shit only Mum’s care to listen to, now.

So many times in the last year, I’ve thought “gosh Mum would enjoy hearing this” or “Mum would know what I mean” when I thought something random.

As they say: til they’re gone, you don’t realise how much you ‘need’ them around..

Ironically, I used to think that Mum and I were not that close.

I was always Dad’s girl .. I adore my Dad – have always been madly in love with him.

He’s strong, intelligent, dependable and the best Dad a girl could ask for. Any time I needed him, he was there. I recall many times when I’ve called him for help .. such as the time I’d had a spat with a boyfriend who turfed me out of his car in down town HB (bastard lol) and I called Dad:

“Daddy (quivering voice) I’m stuck in town, can you please come get me?” (It’s of course: 2am or something lol) No recriminations, or questions other than “where are you, I will be right there”. You can’t beat a Dad like that.

When he pulled up, I got in (and I was fine, just pissed off lol) Dad’s big giant hand reached across the bench seat of the old Ford Falcon and he squeezed mine in his and said “are you ok?” (which is Dad speak for: “Do I need to rough that creep up?”)

I nodded and we drove home in silence. No hassles. All the way home, hand in hand quietly ..Dad to the rescue. We never mentioned it again..

But Mum – she was a cow.

She made me do my home work. FORCED me to learn to cook, sew buttons back onto shirts and do all the dumb crap girls are meant to learn to do.

And I wish she was around now for me to tell her how I’m enjoying being back in the saddle here in Wellington. Not that she got what I did for a job but ne’mind.. She’d smile that smile and listen to me rabbit on..

I wish I could tell her how her gorgeous grand daughter has taken on a new job and continues to be one of the coolest things on this planet.
Despite having a nut bar for a Mother 😉

I wish she could see the scar on Titan’s head.

And the flowers in the driveway garden, esp the violets she planted for me – thriving .. taken from her now neglected garden.

I wish she could see Percy run around causing chaos with the hens. Rooting around in the slush pit (gross lol). She’d have loved to see him running around the place causing chaos the way only a piglet can!

I wish she could see the cherry (huggy) tree blossoming in Sept.

I even wish I could have those OH so annoying (at the time) long conversations with her in August .. as she started to plan Xmas.


Mostly, I just wish she wasn’t dead.

We’d talk, text and email almost every day. She was always the one I’d call to tell ‘stuff’ to and being in HB, we’d of course see each other all the time. Not so close? Hmm maybe not..

Mm gonna be a strange 24 hours or so here in my lil shoe box in Wellington.

  I miss you Mum.



  1. I can’t help but cry when I read this lovely, lovely post about your Mum. She sounds like one AWESOME lady. I relate to how you feel – always something to tell Mum – always wishing she could see how her grandchildren and great-grandchildren have turned out. I miss my mother just like that too Joan, and it is 20 years ago this year. It is 30 years since my Dad died too. Like yours, my Dad would come into the centre of Auckland or wherever I might have been on a Saturday night, too late to meet the last bus out home… oops! No cellphones those days (back in the good ol’ days!) but I’d always manage to get to a phone somehow and call Dad. No questions asked. No lecture about how there was no excuse to miss that last bus. Aren’t we the lucky ones to have had such wonderful parents. Mine were two of my very best friends. I loved reading your post Joan. No wonder you are such a special lady! Love from Janet xo


  2. Our thoughts are with you today,as they often are.
    We hold the memories of your amazing mother dear to us always
    The Tromp family


    • Thanks Sonia, how is your Mum? Give her my love when you next talk please. I can imagine she hurts thru this sort of time also.


  3. A sad time. You don’t realise until someone has died just how final death is. You just wish you could say one more thing, hug one more time, see them smile again. Lovely to see the photos of your Mum.


  4. Thank God for our Moms! And our memories.


  5. Regarding shy, I remember how your dad set her up on Skype and, to my knowledge, she never used it. I added her as a contact and tried to set up a contact time, but she was never there. As I understood it from your dad, she was not comfortable being seen. Other than that, we had good communication. She was indeed a precious lady and I am glad I had the opportunity to meet her and spend a short time with her while she was here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: