Who is your Mother?

Today (the 8th of may) is my beautiful Mother’s 70th birthday and every 7 years, as the calender goes, my Mother’s birthday also falls on Mothers day.  So I thought I’d use this comment to celebrate my Mother and Mothers around the world.

We can all say what a good Mother does, but when we look at our own Mothers, I wonder how often we think about who they are?

My Mother has a name, she is named after her Aunt, but that is not who she is.  Who she is, is a good, kind generous person, who has a practical nature and a sharp and intelligent mind.  She is someone who will help a friend and a stranger, if they are in need, she is someone who loves craft and music and who bakes a mean lasagna.  She is a person who likes to travel and explore, who has fun because she got lost, and has fun finding her way back.

She is all these things, but what does she do in the world?

Well my Mum is a triple certificated Registered Nurse and Midwife.  She helped thousands of women become Mothers over her 40 year career in the UK and here in Australia.  She has delivered thousands of babies and nurtured thousands of new borns in the  humidy cribs, too sick to stay with their Mothers in the first fragile days of life.  She has educated Indigenous People about health matters and travelled to remote townships to live with them, when she taught them this vital work.  She has vaccinated thousands of children, saving their lives from the tyranny of disease.

So I know who she is and what she did, but how does she now spend her days?  Well now she is retired, she spends her days creating amazing quilts and items of clothing, by sewing and knitting.  She sells them and she gives them away.  Each piece gives her so much pleasure that she is always planning ahead to the next.  When she is not doing this, she is making music on her Piano or her Guitar.  She sometimes watches Agatha Christie murder mysteries on the TV while she sews and she loves to watch Shakespearian plays and Opera.

But when is she happiest?

I think she is happiest when she is with the people who love her most.  When she is with her family.  When she is with the people she feels most at ease with, her people.  The ones who love her back unconditionally.  She is happy when she is with her friends; she has a group of friends all who graduated Nursing at the same time, still all alive and living near each other.  These women have seen each other through life’s triumphs and tragedies and yet, they remain close and supportive of each other as they have come to the retirement years of their lives.

And so why am I telling you this?  Because I took the time to get to know my Mother.  To learn that she is not a 1 dimensional person.   She is my Mum, the one I think of when I am in distress and the one I think to call on to tell my good news to first.  She is the one person who I feel I can hold onto no matter what, she is my soft place to fall.  But she is not just that.  She didn’t just raise  my brothers and I, she also had a career and friends and interests.  She continued to learn and gain Degrees and Certifications long into her 50’s.

Sometimes it’s easy to categorise a person, in what they do for us, and to see little of whom they are apart from that.  This Mothers Day, I hope that you can see your Mother for all of her self and no matter what your relationship may be with her at this time in your lives, be grateful that she gave you the gift of life.  For the greatest gift we children can give to our Mothers, is to use the life we have been given, well and to make them proud.  For Motherhood is full of self-sacrifice for the sake of seeing your child live and thrive.  Make that sacrifice count.

I love you Mum, happy birthday.



Today I’m thinking of my good friends Sue and Roy who lost their beautiful dog yesterday.

Bella was a little Dog with a big heart, but she was more than a dog, she was family.

As Humans, sometimes we can forget that the other life forms on this planet are just as important as us, we can forget that they love and that they have emotions, thoughts and capabilities that can go beyond our bodies own capacities.

Animals may not occupy a Human form, but this makes them no lesser than us.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I’ve met some very upstanding citizens who occupy animal bodies, who could put some Humans to shame in their expression of who they are and what their values in life are for them.

Getting back to families, I have a big family, but only 4 of the members of my family are human kind.  The other family members are Fish kind, Feline kind, K9 kind, Bird kind and reptile kind.  This is an inter-species family and I know my family is not the only one. Many homes throughout the world have animals who are daughters and sons to the human parents also.  This is no more apparent than when you have a Dog.  The pup needs toilet trained, disciplined and taught manners, it needs to be trained commands and how to play nicely.  The dog needs most of all love.  And I think this is for me, the biggest gift  any of my non-human family members have for me.  Love, unconditional love.  It is oozing out of them.  They want for nothing but food, shelter and love.  They don’t care about the latest gadgets, who’s on TV or what you are wearing.  I think they probably think we look a bit strange because we don’t have any fur or feathers and have so much more work to keep ourselves clean and clothed than they do.  But they don’t care, they just want to love us anyway.  Because to them, we humans are their pack, their flock, their school, we are their pride.  We are their family, so why do so many people forget that and think of themselves as higher up than the animals who are in their homes?  Why do they think of them as outside of their families?  Why?  I don’t understand why, because to me, it’s obvious that they have just as much right to be here as me, they have just as much of a beautiful heart and mind as any of my Human children and they have just as active a mind and feelings as any Human I know.

You know, not all Humans can be themselves all day, every day, un ashamedly…Animals can.

My animal children have taught me about love, humility, friendship, death,  kindness and compassion.   My house is no home without them and my life would simply be incomplete without the love of my family.  Tonight, my friends grieve for their Dog Daughter Bella.  She couldn’t live as long as them, but her life was so significant, that she has enriched them in ways they cannot explain and she has touched the hearts of all who knew her.  How many animal children do you know who are in your family or the family of someone you know?  Love knows no boundaries, no one body type has the monopoly on it and love and life are the most precious gifts we have for each other, in whatever body we occupy at the time.



We all have differing values and morals in life.  Working as a Funeral Celebrant I see this in motion, at times when people are in the most pain and therefore holding up less of a guard.   In this kind of environment, stereotypes are often broken as people from all walks of life must enter the chapel.

This situation of values and morals was no more evident to me than during a week of back to back Funerals and memorial services, that I performed.  During this week, I met three families, all from diverse backgrounds.  One had a father who had passed away in a far off town and the children couldn’t get to him for the funeral, so they held a memorial service for him.  The next was a family who lost a middle-aged daughter to the complications of diabetes.  The third was a club of Bikies, who lost a brother in arms to a brain tumour.

Of the three services I did that week, who would you think showed the most respect to their fallen loved one?  The children with the memorial, the family with the diabetic daughter, or the Bikies with their brother in arms?

Most people would point a finger and say ‘the children didn’t even get up to say goodbye to their Dad, they must have been rude and hard to deal with’, or they may think the Bikies are often organised crime people, so they would have been drunk or on illicit drugs.  Well, would it surprise you to know that in fact the Bikie funeral was the biggest of the three services and it was the one that was treated with the most respect?  All the people there were dressed in their finery and they were all sombre and respectful of the staff conducting the service, including me and to their lost brother.    By contrast, the family who lost their daughter to diabetes were rude and loud.  With people in the back row of the chapel calling out and disrupting the service.  Many of them arrived in the clothes they slept in, with stains and crinkles on their shirts.

The memorial service, was a quiet affair, with the adult children dressed appropriately and the mood was of laughter and tears, as a good memorial or funeral should be.

That week in my life, showed me that you cannot ever judge a book by its cover.  Bikies get a lot of bad press, but when it comes to the rites of passage in life and in death, they uphold the highest of morals and values.  Children who cannot make it to their Father’s graveside, still love their Father and choose to remember him well, but families who never held much respect for themselves and their own will always show that side to themselves when the time comes to say goodbye.

Funerals are about the living, in as much as, the living are the ones left behind.  They are about honouring the life well lived and the person who was living that life.  They are a time to remember yourself and keep your values and morals in check.  Many family arguments erupt around the time of the passing of a loved one.  Should you find yourself involved in this situation, ask yourself, would my deceased loved one want this to be happening?

We all must face this passage, be it to farewell another or to be farewelled, how you conduct yourself is not about your socio-economic status, your religion or your culture, it is about your personal values and your morals, inside of you.  And believe me; they will be on display for all to see.


Family Feuds & Forgiveness

Image thanks to
Image thanks to

When I was 17 I attended a tertiary college to study secretarial skills…Office work was and has never been a subject I enjoy, however it has proven to be the foundation of my business skills, so for that, I am grateful…One morning, before class a lady approached me while I was sitting on a bench, minding my own business. She introduced herself and began to talk…She was in her late 30’s, re-training now her kids were older and she was very sad and very alone…but not because of her change in life…She felt this way because of an unresolved family feud, resulting in unfinished business and the lost chance to say ‘I love You’ to her Father before he died.
She was so very sad as she recounted having found out that her Father was in his death bed and that she had been deliberately left out of the Family call around for the gathering to say goodbye. When she arrived at the Hospital, it was too late. Her Father had gone and he died a bitter man towards his beautiful girl… Here sat before me, a broken Woman. A woman who could never say ‘I forgive you’ or ‘I’m sorry, please forgive me’, a woman who would die herself one day with that unhealed heart. I was 17, I did not have the emotional maturity or life skills to counsel her. I just sat with her and let her talk…I felt very sad for her and I thought to myself ‘No matter what, I’m never going to let a chance go by, to tell my family that I love them’.
My Mother told me that I had a very trustworthy face, because the more I ventured out into the world, the more strangers would seek me out to confess their sins or tell me their storeys of regret. It was a burden for me, because I just didn’t know how to deal with it, but it was a release for them, because they felt they were connecting with someone who cared…and I did care, that is why I felt it was a burden. I didn’t know how to help these people and I just didn’t know why they were all coming to me.
However, looking back on those times, I now know why they chose me…Because I was born to give others Spiritual Counsel. It is in my capacity as a Funeral Celebrant, that I find myself wishing I had met some of these people long before the death of their loved one. Because it never ceases to sadden me to see the hurt and disappointment of family members estranged, never to speak again and cursed with this decision as one of them dies.
The institution of Family is a major part of every Human’s life. It is a fundamental part of your creation to be a member of a family unit, a Clan or a Tribe. When that institution breaks down, for one reason or another…it is imperative that the family members re-unite under a common umbrella. They need to rise above the issue and see that love is more important. Because you never know when your time is up, or when it is theirs.
I have family members who live in different locations around Brisbane and Queensland, Scotland, England and the USA. After that conversation with that lady, all those years ago, I realised that if I had to drive for two hours to spend 5 minutes with a Family member, it was worth it. If I travelled half way around the world and only got a window of an hour with someone in my family, no matter how emotionally close they are to me, or not…I would be grateful for every second. Because they are your blood. Your ancestors, your DNA. They are more important than money, material goods, popularity or power.
When I give a Funeral Service, I often find that there are one or two people in the official party, who want to make the day ‘all about them’. They ignore the proceedings of the day and create a sideline event, or they dress inappropriately or they are loud and rude during the service. These people have forgotten what the meaning of Family is. They have forgotten their own hearts too. They have been drawn into the illusion of the instant gratification culture, the meanness of ‘give me, give me, give me.’ And they have created for themselves a day of regret. It may not dawn on them that day, or later that month…but it will hit them hard when it does. Because, at the heart of it all, Family is there. Deep within your Soul, there is a connection that is forged in the White Light of the Source of All There Is.

Forgiveness card
Image thanks to

The band ‘Mike and the Mechanics’ wrote a song about this subject, you may have heard it on the Radio – ‘In the Living years’. It is a song that always brings a tear to my eye, because I have witnessed the results of so many family feuds, over the time I have been a Spiritual Adviser and Funeral Celebrant.

Is there someone in your family who doesn’t see eye to eye with you? Is there someone you are angry with or who you just can’t face because of whatever reason? Don’t let that bad feeling sit and fester for another second. Write them a note. Send them a card. Tell them that no matter what has gone on before, you love them dearly and you are always going to be their champion, tell them you forgive them…
Because one day, one of you will die, and for the one left behind it will be too late.