Letter to My Mother by Phillippa Bower

This month’s exercise was based on the theme the day before a funeral or wedding

Letter to my mother

Dear mother, I was looking through old photographs. You as  young woman, me as a baby. How happy we were then, you so proud and me with a milky smile upon my face. Then me at three, sulky and pouting. What went wrong?

Daddy in his army uniform, back from the war. Both of you with eyes only for each other and me in the background, angry and ignored.

A picture of me in my school uniform at the age of seven, off to boarding school, gawky and unattractive. Did I never smile?

I wanted to tell you that my unhappiness was not really your fault. But you never thought that it was. I was a difficult child and that was that.

There are lots of photos of me in the sixties, miniskirts, kaftans – what fashions we had then. But where are you? You never liked to be photographed. Some people’s mothers are their best friends but I could not conceive any friendship between us. You were a different generation, middle aged and disapproving.

Pictures of me and my husband with our little children. Why did you not visit us more often while you had the chance? Perhaps we would have bonded over the joys and responsibilites of motherhood. But it was never to be.

You said to call you any time, but what was the point of cold and distant phone calls when all I wanted was your warmth, your embrace, the apple-blossom smell of your skin.

I am writing this letter on the eve of your funeral. What shall I do with it? Shall I drop it into your grave or whisper these words on the wind.

I never thought that you would die,

I hoped we would be friends at last.

I had no chance to say goodbye.

I never thought that you would die.


We were estranged, I don’t know why.

My heart is heavy with the past.

I never thought that you would die,

I hoped we would be friends at last.



About Rosemary Noble

Writer, author, amateur historian and traveller
This entry was posted in Exercise of the Month and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Letter to My Mother by Phillippa Bower

  1. indigomember says:

    Very moving. You read it out beautifully too and it sparked quite a discussion afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Celia says:

    Beautifully expressed – straight from the heart.


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