Search for mum
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