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Even though I was an adult woman, I still wanted my mother to be my mother rather than I be a friend to her. It is not my proudest moment but it is a truthful one. I will continue to love her unconditionally, in death, just as I do the rest of my family, but I am one selfish B***h if I do say so myself. She happened to be my best friend and I can only hope she felt I was hers too. My love for her will never die and to this day I feel so very blessed to have known her – oh the lessons she taught me! They have been so useful along the path of life.


It is Titled THE ELEVENTH HOURaptly so as although I managed to save her life on that visit, it was short-lived as she died 3 months later. That was fourteen years ago and of course I miss her to this day. She was a great lady with a beautiful soul

Mortality knocked loudly at the door. They said another day and she would be gone. Blood transfusions thwarted what was to be the inevitable and colour rose high on her cheekbones in spite of it all. Relief flowed forward, seeking release and found it in a couple of fresh pints.

The best mistake my mother ever made sat across the living room listening, taking note of her final wishes. The youngest of her three children; the executor of the estate; the vessel took on the heavy load of her confessional, the release of her burdens, the distribution of her humble estate; her need to share her stories. A mature woman herself who still longed to view her mother as such – not as a woman – not yet … It wasn’t time yet. There was never a good time to face forever without her. She was my everything and had been all my life.

The rye and Coke aided the process. The rhythm method didn’t work. Words of knowledge, too late, not appreciated, irrelevant, uncomfortable.

We would have numbered five, not three offspring as it were.

The first baby died at infancy. Nineteen forty-three was not a time for lawsuits by eight grieving mothers during the same week. She believed it was tainted baby formula. Others talked behind her back believing she had not fed him properly and still the rest knew it was because she named him John Peter thus setting a curse for years to come. Everyone knew that naming the first child for the two grandfathers would produce a bad result. Either way, and for any reason the suffering was excruciating and fell to my mother’s head. I took the time to imagine, to feel, to commensurate woman to woman, in spite of my selfish need for her to be a mother to me at that moment.

What was to be the fourth baby was taken by coat-hanger in a tub full of warm water. The rhythm method didn’t work.

Quiet sobbing followed. Her daughter without words to console. Can we go back to me being your daughter please? I am begging. The air pregnant with words unspoken. Had it not been then it would have been me – the best mistake she ever made happened because of the worst thing she had ever done.

The price was dear, the payback severe or so she believed the mighty curse had taken its toll. A hard life, emotional turmoil, widowed far too young, the family curse kept alive, her eldest reliant on her care, her home, her support home lest he perish in the streets.

A life for a life for life shared secrets at the eleventh hour.


Lesley Fletcher is a writer (freelance, books, content, lyrics,stage plays) as well as a visual artist specializing in monoprints. To learn more about her please visit the tabs here on WordPress or her website at http://www.LesleyFletcher.com


Photo was taken a week before she passed gently in the night, just as she wanted.