My Mum passed away 17 years ago in May, a few days after Mother’s Day. She was diagnosed with fourth stage liver cancer that had spread to her lungs. She was gone exactly twelve weeks later. Her passing was extremely unexpected, and brutal for her and those who loved her. The last two weeks of Mama’s life were the worst of my own life. I was 29 years old, and felt that part of me died too. It has taken me this long (I’m 46 now) to be able to share this on YLF with a calm heart and no tears. Time does not heal your wounds, but things do get better, and I am grateful for that.
I dedicate a post to my late Mum every year because we were very close, and because she is the reason I became interested in fashion and style in the first place. She fully supported my career change from Psychology to Fashion at the age of 21, when my dear Dad needed a lot more convincing. I remember overhearing their conversation, with Papa saying something like, “And now Angélique wants to do this fashion thing? I don’t know what to think of that.” And Mama, replying with something like, “Angélique is going to be be okay. Let her do this. I have a feeling that this is the right thing for her.” Mama was dead right. The best decision I ever made was marrying my soulmate Greg, but the second best decision I ever made was changing my career path. I’ve been in the fashion industry for 25 years and that’s exactly where I was supposed to be. Mama believing in me right from the start made all the difference. Back then, I didn’t understand or appreciate how pivotal that time was in my life. Or how important a role Mum played in making the right thing happen.
That brings me to how I would describe my Mum. Apart from stylish, charming, caring, dog-loving and a devoted mother, Mum was fiery, volatile, street smart, loyal, protective and fearless. She complemented my academic, gentle, level-headed, calm and smiley Papa in the best way. When she died, my brother and I lost a Mother, but my Papa lost his soulmate, and he has never gotten over it.
This brings me to why I chose to repost my favourite photo of my Mum and Dad for Mother’s Day. Here, they were attending a dinner at the Dutch club in Hong Kong in 1965, a few years after they got married. Over the years, the memories of my dear Mum are fading. I think and speak of her much less — and miss her less — although she is always in my heart. My Dad, on the other hand, is consistently in my thoughts. At 84, he lives alone in the Netherlands, and needs the love, company and support of my brother and me more than ever. Although I’ve been speaking to my Dad daily since my Mum passed away, it’s not enough. Because he no longer flies to Seattle, I now visit him regularly, and help out as much as I can. I can’t help but think that Mum is gratefully looking down from her big fluffy cloud in the sky as my brother and I — with the help of our spouses — have rearranged our lives so that we can attend to my Dad in person, and not just from afar. This has made me reconnect with my late Mum and done my darling Dad the world of good.
We treasure and celebrate the mothers who are with us, and fondly remember those who are absent, but who made a very positive difference. We at YLF wish you a happy Mother’s Day.