My mother died alone

Read this first

What is published cannot be undone and I’m acutely aware of this.

First I want to say that I do not want to offend. This poem is not appropriate for anyone who is grieving for the loss of someone they loved and cared for in the deepest sense.

My poem represents one early step towards making sense of the loss of my mother, with whom I had a complex relationship. So it is firmly intended for other Survivors who have been in a similar situation.

How do you grieve for a mother who fell short of the mark?

It is roughly 2 months since she died. When she died she was asking for me but she was alone with just a friend and a carer.

Here’s the poem I wrote today as part of the process of grieving for the woman who I had to care for up to the end,  but who failed to protect me and who swept my abuse under her carpets.

You can listen to me read it here and there’s a transcript beneath as well.



My mother died alone

“They can’t get me up” you told me on the phone.

I called for the carer,

Then I called you again:

“No-one’s been.” You said.


I called again.


You must have been so scared you called your friend.

You must have been so scared,

You asked her to call the ambulance.

They’re all around you now:

Your friend

A carer

Her manager

The paramedics.


She phoned to say you’re in the ambulance with

Your handbag and

Some rings.



Then the  consultant phones because

He wants me to tell him

What I know about your illness.

I tell him what I can

About not eating and being sick

And not wanting to be there. In hospital.


(Oh if  he had asked about

Your handbag and

Your rings…)


The consultant says there’s gangrene on your foot.

Just a small spot.

Your leg is cold to touch but you’d die during amputation.

You’re sleepy and when you wake you ask for something for the pain.

He said the other leg was going the same way.


I have to say I didn’t really understand

How can you live when your legs are dead?


There’s fluid on your lungs he said

They’ll make sure that you’re comfortable.

I ask how long  until you die.

“Days probably,” he replied.


I’m going to drive the 70, 80 miles to be there.

Then I decided not.

I couldn’t face the drive.

I was sick; and I was tired.

Your leg was cold my eyes were sore

Your lungs were full of fluid.

My heart was raw.


I wanted it to end.


In truth I can no longer face

Your handbag and

Your rings


A text arrives,  it’s from your friend. She says

“I expect you know your mum is very poorly

She is asking for you …”


I know I have to drive.


A nurse with a heavy accent telephones

“Your mother’s very ill”

“How long?”

“I cannot say”


“I cannot say”

The nurse sounds cross because

I’ve disengaged.

I feel it’s over.


I text her friend:

“I’m stuck” I say “I couldn’t really hear the nurse. Please give her my love won’t you. Really stuck…”


In half an hour another phone call from the nurse

“Your mother’s passed”.

“Thank you” I reply.


And now I’m stuck with

A handbag and

Her rings.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Laura Black says:

    That’s a really beautiful, moving piece of writing. I love your honesty. You are honouring your feelings by writing this, rather than what everyone else tells you about grief. That takes real courage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your support Laura.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I find myself wanting to come back to help somehow, but I don’t know how. Just thinking of you—-


  3. I am sending you the link to my book after I lost my son, I hope it may help. You can read it here for free


    1. Dear Aui thank you so much for the link. I’m so very sorry for what you’ve been through and your writing is very powerful.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. Just keep writing and reaching out 🙂


  4. Hugs for you. I know how difficult it is this time. Just keep writing and keep reaching out 😉


    1. Thank you for your kindness. I will keep writing x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Writing helps me deal the unbearable pain of losing my son. It leads me to publishing my first book ever, I never knew it will turn out that way. I learn so much about doing those things and leads me to a place of healing.


      2. Im not done yet typing yet I accidentally press the send button!


  5. runrabbitrunptsd says:

    I have often wondered how I may feel when I hear news that either of my abusive parents have died. I doubt I’ll feel that much at all or shed many/any tears. What you’ve written here is very open and brave, thanks for sharing this 🙂 I’ve just began following your blog and look forward to reading more posts. Lottie.


    1. Thank you for your kind words Lottie

      Liked by 1 person

      1. runrabbitrunptsd says:

        You’re welcome 🙂 Nice to meet you


  6. The complicated relationship with my mother made it hard to grieve her; to grieve her cleanly without guilt. I sought counseling after her death 7 years ago, and took an anti-depressant for awhile. The grieving process took this many years though the first several were the hardest. And even though we had a rather rocky relationship, I still miss her sharply at times.
    2 months is not long and I’d guess you may be feeling very raw? A mix of feelings?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re’s a tangle at the moment. Thanks for responding x

      Liked by 2 people

  7. sasperella says:

    Oh Serena I’m sorry you went through that. Sending love and hugs


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