Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - MOTHERS & DAUGHTERS -

man­ager. By then, their mar­riage was in a ter­ri­ble place, but she had made her vows and wanted to stick to them.

Thirty-three years of mar­riage ended over a lunch when Dad told Mum, then 57, that he’d fallen for a Pol­ish masseuse 20 years his ju­nior. Dad had taken out huge loans be­hind her back to fund his busi­nesses so Mum found her­self pen­ni­less. They had to sell their house and she moved into the spare room of my tiny two-bed­room apart­ment for six months.

Hav­ing spent a few years work­ing in PR, I had just launched Killing Kit­tens after I’d helped a guy or­gan­ise a sex party on his estate. I’d seen how ner­vous a lot of the fe­male guests were and wanted to cre­ate some­thing where girls would have the power.

Ev­ery­thing I was do­ing was about look­ing after other women and help­ing them find them­selves.

Mum was no ex­cep­tion to that. I wanted her to fi­nally be her­self – to know what an amaz­ing per­son she was but had been un­able to see be­cause she’d been un­der Dad’s con­trol.

I bought her a bike, new train­ers and an iPod that I loaded up with tunes and told her she wasn’t al­lowed to wal­low – she had to get out. I told her, ‘Do not go look­ing for a man. You need to gather women around you and just get to like your­self.’ We be­came best mates.

I would bor­row her car to take things to Killing Kit­tens par­ties.

Once she opened her boot and boxes fell out, spilling their con­tents ev­ery­where. An el­derly gen­tle­man helped pick up what he thought were wrapped after-din­ner mints. Mum sud­denly re­alised that they were con­doms, but was too em­bar­rassed to stop him fill­ing his pock­ets with ‘mints’ to eat later.

Dad was very dis­ap­prov­ing of Killing Kit­tens but Mum un­der­stood why I was do­ing it. Her worry was how peo­ple would treat me. She heard one of my un­cles telling my cousins not to go near me be­cause I was a bad in­flu­ence and had to de­fend me.

Three years after the di­vorce, my brother and I signed her up to on­line dat­ing. It was a crazy time. She was so busy with work as well as con­stantly rush­ing off to see her par­ents who were go­ing down­hill with de­men­tia – Nanny would be found wan­der­ing around the lo­cal vil­lage in her nightie. At the same time, Mum was go­ing on dis­as­trous dates. But it was through on­line dat­ing she met her part­ner,

Nick. I was be­yond happy when she told me, ‘I’ve found my Mr Darcy.’

Now she’s re­tired and she and Nick are hav­ing a whale of a time. She’s writ­ten a book about her ex­pe­ri­ences, which has been hugely ther­a­peu­tic for her, though I haven’t been al­lowed to read it yet.

It’s been won­der­ful to see Mum re­alise that she is wor­thy of love and friend­ship, and that find­ing her­self sin­gle in her 50s wasn’t the end – it was the be­gin­ning of the hap­pi­est time of her life.



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