‘My daughter made me happy again’
When Joy Borrows lost her mother, she felt lost and unable to carry on. It was the support of her own daughter, Victoria, that helped carry her through
It wasn’t a surprise when my mum, Elizabeth, died. She was 96 and had been living in a care home. What was a surprise was my reaction – I totally fell apart. I would cry for hours, I abandoned all my hobbies and I stopped seeing friends. I could hardly
It must have been hard for her to see me crying so much, but her support never wavered
[continued from previous page] bear to leave the house. Part of it was the sudden change to my routine. I visited Mum most days and I would often take Max, my baby grandson. I didn’t know what to do with myself. On one occasion, I even got as far as putting my coat on to go and visit her, only to collapse in tears when it hit me again that she was no longer there.
In the end, it was my daughter Victoria who helped me. She spent hours listening as I talked about Mum. It must have been hard for her to see me crying so much, but her support never wavered.
I think she found it difficult to understand why I was so upset, as I’d had a difficult relationship with my mother. We were completely different characters. I’ve always been quiet and creative, whereas Mum was an incredibly strong, no-nonsense woman. She was a nurse and met my father, a doctor, in Cyprus, where my sister Paula and I were born. In 1956, when I was eight, there was a guerrilla uprising against the British and Dad was shot dead by terrorists while tending patients. Mum decided it was too dangerous and we moved back to England.
She never got over my father’s death and would get upset whenever he was mentioned. So we learnt not to talk about him and were never able to grieve properly. I suspect that might have had something to do with my intense reaction to Mum’s death.
The first Mother’s Day was particularly difficult. I kept thinking how we would normally visit her and, of course, all the cards in the shops set me off. But Victoria brought happiness to the day when she came round with Max and his younger sister, making me feel loved and cherished.
She encouraged me to carry on looking after Max, which helped to lift me out of my despondency. Ironically, I’ve worked for the bereavement charity Cruse for years in the finance department and I had a counselling session, which made me realise my grief was natural.
Seven months after Mum died, we went to Cyprus, as she had asked to be buried with my dad. It was cathartic and afterwards I started to improve. Losing her was one of the hardest things I’ve faced, but Victoria’s support made all the difference. It’s made me appreciate her more than ever.
Victoria (left) helped mum Joy get over the loss of her own mother