1 Mar 2016

When your mother dies

Margaret Baker 7 Jan 1934- 26th Jan 2016
Apologies for my blog absence. I went to England to visit my mother. Her decline in health over four weeks was rapid. She died a week before I was due to come back to NZ. Helping to care for her before she died and living a ‘life after death’ has been consuming.

I have now been back in New Zealand for ten days. The jet lag is abating, The grump (chapter 11) is being overtaken by life’s routines and I am feeling a sense of normality is knocking on the door. I can let it in if I want.

Blogs and newsletters have been due. Mental drafts have made it to paper, but not to the web.  I like to think my writing is a help to migrants going through similar situations. I couldn’t come up with ways to help myself let alone readers. As well as my mother dying there were other deaths and dying of people close to me. When death is all around you, it is difficult to see a way forward or objective observations. What I can offer is a few snippets of thoughts:

For migrants:

When you are away from a home and are grieving, you lack your day to day touchstones. Your sofa, your clothes, the routines that you choose to keep or ignore at challenging times.
In some ways you can operate entirely focused on the task at hand, in my case caring for my dying mother. However, when that task is over, you don’t even know how big the void is because you have no perspective on how your routines, your 'normal' life has been altered. You are in limbo until you return to your place of everyday living.

For anyone grieving:

Grief is a hard blow. Even when you have had grief before, it creeps up and surprises you. It disables you.

Goodbyes are usually hard. Goodbyes coupled with grief are really hard.

We have complicated and uncomplicated times in our lives. Mine feels complicated and uncomplicated. Uncomplicated because it is only the things that matter, matter. Complicated because for two month I have been without routine and normality I don’t know what it the next step. I am only making small steps.

At this grieving time:

Be patient, be tender, be kind to yourself and others.


  1. Hello Ellie, my husband James and I meet you on our long flight to NZ just after your mother had passed away. I found your card in my passport just today and i've enjoyed reading some of your posts. I am going to pass on the website to my Mum, who I think will benefit from your posts, as I live so far away, I know she finds it hard (reciprocated). I am sorry again for the loss of your mother, and hope NZ is treating you well.
    Renee x

  2. Thanks Renee. It is always warming to hear that people benefit from my posts. I hope you got to see the post 15th May about family members left behind. http://migrantemotions.blogspot.co.nz/2016/05/families-of-immigrants-left-behind-what.html