Search for mum

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

was clearly, I knew im­me­di­ately, such a lov­ing per­son.

We quickly hit it off and I was happy to move my mother to the home’s care where she re­mained for five years.

One day when I was vis­it­ing mum at the home, Phyl­lis stopped me and shyly asked if what she had heard was true: that I was a jour­nal­ist.

“I have a story I think you might be in­ter­ested in,” she said.

By then we had bought a sec­ond home in the Mid­lands where we could take mum for a visit and where I could stay when emer­gen­cies came up.

Phyl­lis and I started to meet there so that I could in­ter­view her for the book she wanted to write but when she started turn­ing up with pages of hand­writ­ten notes, I very quickly re­alised that I must give her story back to her.

It wasn’t my tale to tell. Phyl­lis had a clear writer’s ‘voice’ and a de­tailed, vivid mem­ory so I told her she must write her own book. She bought a com­puter and set to work, and in Novem­ber this year it will fi­nally be pub­lished.

When my mother died in 2009, it was Phyl­lis who phoned to say I should come to be with her.

It was Phyl­lis who sat be­side me when she passed away – my daugh­ter and hus­band were on their way.

The lit­tle girl who had so craved af­fec­tion from a par­ent but never found it, helped my mother have a good death.

We still meet half way be­tween Birm­ing­ham and Lon­don at a pub in Gay­don for a good old catch-up and more re­cently to fine-tune the book.

She has never shown any bit­ter­ness about her past, and con­tin­ues to love and care for other peo­ple’s moth­ers.

Phyl­lis’s book Find­ing Tip­per­ary Mary – The Search for my Mother, is due to be pub­lished in Novem­ber.

n POIGNANT SEARCH: Bar­bara Fisher with Phyl­lis Whit­sell au­thor of Find­ing Tip­per­ary Mary

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