“Perhaps the only thing that can impact and shape a woman’s life with the same power as her mother’s love and guidance, is her mother’s death.” Leigh Van Der Horst
Mother’s Day, as we all know is an annual celebration honouring mothers and motherhood but for some of us it’s a day of honouring the memory of our own mother’s who are no longer with us. I thought that this was a good day to share a new book that is close to my heart, both in subject matter and personal contribution.
‘Without My Mum‘ has been written and self-published by Leigh Van Der Horst who lives in Australia, in an effort to unite motherless mothers through her own story that beautifully honours her mother, while featuring stories from others mothers around the world, including some well-known personalities. I came to be involved with this project through the power of social media when celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s wife Jools asked for motherless mothers, via Instagram to contact Leigh to contribute their stories to her book project.
Leigh’s story is shared through her own heartfelt words, her experience of her beloved mum’s illness and her subsequent death from cancer in 2008, when Leigh was just thirty-two and in the midst of raising her own young family. Her book takes readers on her journey which is both heartbreaking and inspiring, but also comforting in its honestly and shares how she has come through the grieving process and is learning to live after her loss with a grateful heart. My own mother died from a long battle with cancer on Mothers Day 1993, I was twenty-four and seven months pregnant with my second son, she was just fifty-one.
I received my copy of ‘Without my Mum‘ about ten days ok and it’s a real tear-jerker, we all had a little cry! As I work my way through the book there have been more tears and I’m certain there are more to come before I reach the end, but also some smiles too. This book is sad but also uplifting, a must-read for anyone who has lost their mother, suffered any kind of loss in their lives or for anyone looking to understand and help those that have suffered bereavement.
The book is divided into three sections. The first part is Leigh’s account of her and her family’s story and the second section ‘Without our Mothers’ is a collection of stories from motherless mothers (where my story is featured on the first page) from all corners of the globe. The final part is entitled ‘Words of Wisdom: A sharing of motherly wisdom between loving mums’ is where mothers such as myself share their insights, advice and anecdotes of raising children of different ages and gender. This section also has contributions from mothers about children with special needs, post-natal depression and general tips. Sisterhood at its best!
“A wonderful book that captured my heart in the first few paragraphs. ‘Without My Mum’ is a moving account of a beautiful, close relationship between a mother and her treasured daughter as they are forced to say goodbye. I adored it!” – Jools Oliver
Contributing to this book was the first time that I have ever written down my story and I cannot commend Leigh enough for her fantastic editing skills to remove all the angst and bitterness of my account and select the appropriate parts of my outpouring to share my story in her book, which I am truly honoured to be involved with. I am grateful that my mother made it to my wedding, that she was a grandmother even if it was just for a short time and that she knew another grandchild was on its way, all important things that most people take for granted.
This book is a must read for all women everywhere, I urge you to buy, download or even borrow a copy and buy a box of tissues too. I want to wish any mothers reading this post a very Happy Mothers Day. Personally I’m not a big fan of Mothers Day because it’s the day my mother died, but mum as I remember you on Mothers Day this year twenty-two years on, I am honouring you in this book by sharing our story with mothers worldwide. Rest in Peace mum.
As an extension of the book, Leigh has created a community page on Facebook as a safe place for people to visit for support and inspiration for those without their mothers or experiencing grief. No judgement, just acceptance and understanding. Visit the page here. Visit Leigh’s blog ‘Leigh V Loves’ here and for more information about the book visit www.leighvloves.com/book. All enquiries – firstname.lastname@example.org.
All photos used courtesy of www.leighvloves.com. The paper cuts featured in ‘Without my Mum‘ (Such as the Mother definition shown above) were created by Sarah Lord and are now available as prints. Please visit her Facebook page here for more information and visit her Etsy shop here www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SarahLordPapercuts