Renee: On losing her mum at just 15
Meet Renee, a mother of two, a strong woman who knows the importance of celebrating life after she was faced with the loss of her own mother at the vulnerable age of 15.
Q: Can you share a little bit about what your mum was like?
“She was kind, and she was more than just our mum. She was the mum of the neighbourhood, the mum of the school she looked after a lot of children; she did family day care. She was the one that a lot of people went to.”
Q: Losing your mum at such a young age must have been incredibly difficult. Growing up into a young woman, are you able to share with us what this journey looked like for you?
“It was hard. There were lots of ups and downs and there’s not a day that goes by that you don't remember, but you just get better at moving forward. It also makes you really grateful for the other wonderful women and influences in your life as well. Even though I grew up without my mum, I still did have a village of women around, and my brother and my dad.”
“There were so many times that were just touched with sadness because they weren’t there. But it also made you incredibly grateful for what you did have, and incredibly grateful for every year and every moment that goes by because you can’t take these things for granted. I remember thinking, “oh at least I’ve got dad, he knows how to fix something if it’s broken."
Q: What does motherhood mean to you now, now that you have 2 beautiful children of your own?
“When I had both of the kids, I just missed her the most. I just missed her so much, but it also helped me heal in a lot of ways as well.”
“Mother’s Day was always something I found incredibly difficult and I think of all the anniversaries and those kinds of special times, Mother’s Day was the hardest.”
“Then I had my two kids and yeah it helped heal that and so, now I’m able to enjoy it more and celebrate motherhood. I feel incredibly blessed to have two children. I don’t take being a mother for granted. Although, you know, it’s obviously difficult. Everything has its highs and lows no matter what you do. But now that I’ve got my two, it’s helped me heal in a lot of ways as well. So I'm really grateful for that. I can look forward to Mother’s Day these days and sit back and expect things to be done for me!”
Q: What would you tell someone going through something similar?
I think having death in such a close intimate level at 15, which is such a you know, such a vulnerable age, it gives you some sort of superpower. It gives you this amour, that’s really hard and you’ve got through. It gives you a bit of strength to make you feel that, you know what, today’s not the worst day of my life, I’ve had that and I’m going to get through.
It’s almost like you only get it if you’ve been through it. And then even saying that, every person's journey, or experience with losing anyone or losing a parent is very individual to them. Everyone’s journey is different but you do get a superpower.
Q: How has losing your mum at such a young age changed your view of life?
“I’m now older than what mum will ever be. So mum died when she was 42 and on my 42nd birthday, I had a big party, like it was like I had to do something. So we had a big party and just celebrated life. So now at nearly 45 I’m older and wiser than mum ever was, so maybe I do know more now!