'We are going to the beach tomorrow, I can't wait - I'm dying for a swim ...'
She died the next day whilst swimming in the sea at Glenelg, South Australia. It has been the most tragic and desperate time of my life, but through her death she gave me three gifts.
My last conversation with Mum went like this: 'Wow Mum you're going to Australia on your own, you are so brave, I hate flying. I could never go on a plane for that long!'
She replied: 'I do not really like flying and I am not brave, it's just I am not afraid of dying, it's a win-win situation. I get to take some risks and have fun all at the same time!'
This was my first gift.
Since receiving this gift I have travelled to so many wonderful places in the world, taken life a little less seriously and I now love my life and take great pleasure in being alive.
When I was sorting through her personal effects, I noticed how many anti-ageing products she had bought over the years and couldn't stop thinking that at 63 she had never really become old - it made me think that this was such a waste of worries.
This was my second gift.
Rejoice in growing older! I love my wrinkles, it shows the world how full of laughter my life has been. I let my hair go naturally grey. I no longer waste worries on 'doing my roots' and I know that each day I am alive is a wonderful day.
Mum emailed me from Australia to tell me all about her holiday. I was really busy and thought I would reply the next day to tell her my news and end with a kiss and I love you.
Mum died the next day. I never sent her a kiss or told her that I loved her.
This was my third gift.
From that moment on I have been free with my affection, I never wait to tell someone they are loved and special I do it there and then. I make the time for the really important things in life.
I often heard Mum say 'Waste not, want not' which suited her so well. She was the most resourceful woman that I have ever known, she had the most amazing way of using up the left overs and scraps to make something wonderful, whether it was a meal, something to drink or even something to wear. She loved growing, making and mending things. So when we were asked about organ donation it was not a difficult decision to make.
'Waste not, want not' was her final gift to the world.
PS: I love you X