Ralfie and Jemima

Ralfie and Jemima

Wednesday 28 April 2021

For My Mother

My dear friends,

As many of you know, today is the 10th anniversary of this blog and the Riversiders started to prepare for the greatest party of their lives in anticipation, last month.

It is with a very heavy heart that I have to tell you the saddest news of our lives. The Riversiders and I will not be celebrating today, because last Sunday, on April 18, my mother passed away after a long and courageous struggle with cancer.

The photo above features Matilda Mandrake, because she was one of my mother's favourite Riversiders. Today, I took Matilda, Jemima and Quackie to the cemetery for a visit to my mother's grave. I would like to share these photographs with you in addition to a few thoughts.

My mother Felicitas was a very happy, funny and bold person and a role model to me in the way that she dealt with illness, blows of fate and changes in general.

She is now buried next to the beech tree you can see in the pictures further below. 

In the first three photos, Matilda is sitting amid a wreath of Ranunculus - one of my mother's favourite flowers - and on top of the beautiful pink urn which contains her ashes and was sunk into the earth this Monday.

My mother was my favourite person in the whole world. I felt there was a special bond connecting me to my mother and even during adulthood I could always count on her for her love and support. She was my very best friend since my mid-twenties. 
I don't think this means that I love the rest of my family any less. I have a wonderful father, an amazing sister and a lovely brother-in-law. I believe it rather means that I felt "especially" close to her. When we were together I felt accepted with all my strengths and weaknesses and I felt at home

Although I am a grown woman, and even knowing my mother's death would some day be inevitable, I always felt her loss would mean that my own life would end too. It might sound silly to many of you, but I just could not help it. I am not sure what I thought would happen. Probably that I would become ill due to the grief and wither away. 


I will never be able to look into my mother's eyes and talk to her face to face again. Never again will I be able to kiss her warm cheek or hold her hand and share any type of news with her. But, strangely, although my mother died on the 18th, I have already survived a week and three days without her. Right now, I am alive and I am not ill.

I am certain that in a way my life really has ended. A chapter of my life, I mean. It will never be the same and I will always feel the difference between my life now and the way that it felt when my mother was still here. 

I'm not sure why, but some people (even those that have lost a person most dear to them) tell me, "Rejoice, your mother is no longer suffering!", as if this were the only issue that gave us any sorrow. 

I am very, very grateful that my mother is now free from the frailty and pain that the illness inflicted upon her. Because the suffering was intense and there was no other way out and she deserves to be well. 

But although death came as a merciful release for her, for my father and I the long work of mourning has only just begun, and we will always miss her and feel the piercing stab of her absence. 

Rest in peace Mama, or maybe you prefer to party? 

Whatever the case, I wish you the best of times wherever you are now. 

This blog entry is for you. 

I love you. But you already know that.


  1. Oh Nina, I empathise with you completely as your poignant words have so much in common with my experience. I wish there was some way to make it better, but when someone so special, so loved, is taken from you, I don't know if there is. You may find yourself faced with many contradictions - such as not wanting to feel bad, but feeling guilty if you did not - and all one can do is try and accept it. Memories will be joyful, precious and painful at the same time. But, also at the same time, they are evidence of the love you held and still hold. That endures.

    What do I do? I have found that by looking in a mirror, either literally or figuratively, I can see one part of my mother that remains vital. Physically and within my memories and experiences, she lives on, and it is comforting to feel this. Maybe this will help you; I don't know - bereavement is a personal thing.

    Above all, take care of yourself.

    1. "Oh Nina, I empathise with you completely as your poignant words have so much in common with my experience."

      Dear Jackson, I already suspected as much after reading your comment to my last blog entry. I am sorry to hear that you have been through something similar. The painful part that comes with the loved ones illness and with their passing, I mean.

      Thank you for telling me what you do. I agree, bereavement is very personal, but it is helpful when others tell me about their own ways of coping as I appreciate the authenticity and I do remember and cherish the words that I feel are useful to me.

      Thank you.

  2. Dear Nina, I am truly sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family. I'm glad you have the support of your father, sister and brother-in-law in these so very difficult times. I'm sure you'll be a great support for them as well.

    The pictures you took are beautiful, as are the ranunculus flowers.

    Sending you all my affection and support. As Jackson said, please take care of yourself.

    Have a big hug from me.


  3. I'm so sorry for your loss. And a nice tribute to your beloved mom.

  4. Dearest Nina, I'm sad and sorry for your loss. I know what your beloved mother meant to you. It's good that you have your father and sister and your brother-in-law. This is when members of a grieving family give and receive support to and from each other.
    Be brave and strong, I'm sure this is what your mother expected from you.
    A warm hug,

  5. So traurig dieser Post auch ist - aber er ist auf seine traurige Weise trotzdem ein sehr lieber und schöner Tribut an Deine Mutter. Wir haben keinen Zweifel, dass es Dich sehr viel Kraft und Tränen gekostet hat, das zu schreiben... aber es ist gut, dass Du Dich aufgerafft hast. Weiterhin viel Kraft und alles Liebe wünschen

    Birgit und die BiWuBärchen

  6. Dear Nina,
    I am sorry for you loss. One of the best ways to handle the loss is to watch old photos of her and the family. It takes time for you to become a new adult person without mother. You was her baby although you were an adult person.
    Take care of yourself and your family. I´ll support you.