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All things have their time. A cliche and yet a truth all the same. One of the absolutes of the universe is that everything within will have a beginning and an end. Last night, at the age of seventy years, my mother passed away. It was unexpected, although she had had health-issues in the last few years she had been in good form the last time we spoke and hadn’t complained of anything.

She was a vibrant, funny, wonderful mum. She was slow to temper (but what a temper!), caring, loving, proud, fearless and hard-working.

I think the thing I will take from her life is the fearlessness she had. She wasn’t afraid to do stuff, to travel the world, to try things new and old, to adventure and see and do. Technology and a changing world intimidated her not at all. Even at 68 and 69 she was flitting the globe with her elder sister, going on dune safaris and jungle trips in the Middle-East and Philippines and travelling throughout Italy and Europe. Not long before that she was talking about spending some time with a family in Bolivia, simply because she wanted to see how they lived. She would have done it, I think, had the health issues not intervened.

My dad used to tell the story of returning one day to their house in Dubai to find she had sold his practical car for a two-seater sports car, a car which she used to race the Sultans and other VIPs with. She was that sort of person, fearless and life-loving. She had done things and seen things that I can only imagine, in a time when the world was somewhat different, freer, more open, less explored.

I regret that I only ever knew her as my mum. She had a life and a state beyond that, before Julian and I came along. Things changed as we got older, the relationship shifted and she looked to us more than we looked to her. Yet she was always independent, always of her own mind and ways. She was always her own person.

She looked after us well, whether here or in Papua New Guinea or in Hong Kong or any of the other places we lived. She and dad taught us about the world, how to to cook, how to live and learn and be adventurous. She kept the family going when dad became old and ill, and looked after him and us tirelessly.

She was proud of Julian and I in so many ways, for our various joys and achievements, and she loved and doted on her grandsons and granddaughter beyond measure. All she ever wanted for us was happiness, and I think in that we did not disappoint her.

Are there regrets? Many. Too many to list and all too common - not enough time spent with her, not enough time travelling with her, too many pointless arguments.

I think the biggest regret, for me, was not knowing her story well enough, not taking the time to learn it and know it and know her better. It is too late for that, but I think, and hope, I know enough to take her example forward and live my life in a way she would proud of.


You were a magnificent mum, and Julian and I are proud to be your sons. We love you and will miss you always.

Jose and Julian

NaNoWriMo 2012 launch party