A Letter to my Darling Mum

IMG_6992[1]I was asked to give a talk. Not so much a speech but to read a letter. It was to be a fundraiser afternoon tea hosted by Maree and Sophie at the gorgeous upstairs atelier of Beautiful Room.  I was a bit lost for words, what would I write a letter about and to whom? The charity was in aid of breast cancer research. One woman was going to write a letter to her lost breast. Perhaps I could write a letter to my body and ask if it would forgive me for treating it so harshly over the years…but that just seemed a bit too weird and narcissistic.

And then it hit, Mothers Day was coming up…I would write a letter to my Mum. I needed to put into words what is so often left unsaid.

IMG_6979[1]It was April last year. We had just done a very rough draft print run of the first book. I needed to get feed-back, to test the demographic, to see what worked and what didn’t.

I was heading back home to the small town where I grew up and wanted to give my mum a copy before the gossipers had their say. Although a conservative woman, my Mum always encouraged her three daughters to explore the world and jump at the opportunities presented to us.

I mistakenly thought she’d look past the strong language and the graphic sex to read about a driven, independent woman who builds an empire and discovers her true self along the way.

Mum came into my bedroom the following morning with that look on her face…(you know the one you got as a teenager….if you stayed out too late, or your dress was too short or you were sleeping in on a Sunday morning when you really should’ve been at church!)  She told me she didn’t like some of the language and was worried about what people would think. So I said it was best she didn’t continue and I took the book away.

It hurt, I wanted her approval but should’ve realised this type of book just wasn’t her thing.

Today, with Mother’s Day around the corner, I felt the need to write something to her…to let her know how much I love her, what an inspiring role model she is and try to explain that I now understand why she feels so strongly about what other people might think…


Dear Mum,

Remember that night?  It had been a hectic time, Dad was in hospital. We were sitting at home quietly watching TV. An ad for a charity came on about a little girl who was poor, who worried about being judged and just wanted to fit in.

“That was what it was like for me, always being left out…judged because we were so poor,” you said.

And I didn’t really know how to react…seeing you so vulnerable.

You told me about feeling ashamed when you weren’t invited to a friends party. You overhead the mother saying it was because you could never afford to bring a decent birthday present.

I’m sorry I didn’t understand how much it mattered about  ‘what people think’ when you were so harshly judged as a little girl.

You had no choice about being poor.

SwanReach_Dec93I loved it when you took us back to the family farm all those years ago. A simple stone house, four rooms. The veranda was collapsing and the cactus was growing up to the front porch, but it looked solid and was still in pretty good condition.

IMG_6961[1] What was it like? Did you feel a connection to that place?

IMG_7008[1]A place you hadn’t seen since you were three years old.

Your father died suddenly. You had to leave, your pregnant mum and your four siblings, couldn’t manage a farm on their own.

IMG_6981[1]You moved to a tiny corrugated iron house on the outskirts of town, the land was cheaper there. I remember you saying you were sent to live with relatives when things got really tough. And when you were able to be together you lived in fear of the welfare authorities sending you to an orphanage if they deemed your mum unfit to care, always being judged. But she managed to survive the scrutiny of these bureaucratic bullies and keep all six of you together.

All your siblings had to work from a young age to help support the family. None of them had the luxury of an education.

I wondered what it was like starting work at fourteen…did you miss out on a carefree childhood? 

You worked for the local photographer, hand colouring the prints, styling shots and assisting with weddings. It must have been wonderful to explore beauty and creativity.

The owner’s wife was a refined woman, she took you under her wing and you blossomed. You became a fifties beauty Queen and were now being judged for entirely different reasons.

You taught me how sometimes first impressions count!

You caught the eye of a very charming and persistent suitor and fell in love.

Akuna-PaddleBoat_5847You were a beautiful bride.

In those days married women didn’t work and so you set about turning your little rented cottage into a home. Planting a garden, painting the rooms, decorating the house with your precious things.

You weren’t quite ready when I decided to come along six weeks early. I can imagine your fear when you overheard the matron and doctor doubting whether the premature baby would live through the night. But you were determined that I would survive and demanded to be allowed to breast feed me even though the matron insisted that bottled milk was far superior. And your stubbornness paid off and I thrived.

And you learnt to stand up for what you believed in.

IMG_6956[1]Two years later my brother was born. But something wasn’t right. The local doctor told you he was just ‘a naughty baby’ and you juggled the guilt of mothering and wondered what you were doing wrong.  He got very sick one night and was rushed to the city where it was discovered he had only one kidney that was so badly infected, he might die.

His crying was because of his pain and you knew all along that he was your beautiful boy and not a ‘naughty baby’.

You spent many nights away from us, in that big city hospital, caring for your precious son. And when our sister was born, not long after, you juggled a new baby and a sick child as well.

You did this pretty much alone. Dad worked long hours, taking only one day off each fortnight, working hard so you could afford to build a home of your own.

IMG_6968[1]We moved to that house the year my brother started school. Your love and dedication to him getting better worked miracles. It must have been a joy to see him walking through those gates, into the playground, hanging out with the other little kids.

You made our clothes, cooked from scratch, nurtured a vegetable garden. You gave us an allowance, taught us the value of money and reminded us to save…just in case…

You taught us resourcefulness.

You were strict… but we could be very naughty.  We feared the wooden spoon, though you rarely used it, as the threat was usually enough!

You taught us about boundaries…and consequences.

You were proud when we succeeded and deeply loving when we were hurt.

And it wasn’t just family life you were committed to. You worked tirelessly for your community. I distinctly remember hundreds of your famous chocolate cakes being baked as fundraisers for the church, the mothers group and the new kindergarten. We all fought to lick the bowl!

I remember the shitty year I became a teenager and the night things began to change.  It was Tuesday. You’d worked in Dad’s shop, were exhausted and tried to put on a cheery face when you broke the news, at dinner, that you were going to have a baby. I think I burst into to tears. We were doing sex ed in school and I was furious that you could embarrass me so much! It didn’t occur to me that you were upset too. You were starting to think about doing something for yourself…not sleepless nights and more dirty nappies.

IMG_6984[1]Our little sister was born in August. We loved her madly.

And you taught me about the reality of sex and that having babies wasn’t like playing with dolls. 

Ten months into that year and it was a typical Saturday. Kids were out with friends. Dad was at the shop. You were at home catching up on housework  and keeping your eye on that baby who was now becoming a fast moving toddler.

You had taught me to cook and I was at my friend’s house preparing a special dinner. We needed something from home and were walking along the main road when Dad, obviously distracted, drove straight past us.

It was my brother, he’d been riding his bike with his mates and didn’t see the car as he crossed the road.  We always knew he was sick and might die, but not this way.

I remember you sitting at the sewing machine, weeping agonising tears, repairing his much worn overalls, something you’d promised him you’d do, so he could wear them one last time. I can barely comprehend your grief.

I wanted my little brother back.

At his funeral the mourners filled the church and spilled out onto the street.

You, our family, weren’t judged…just very much embraced and loved by a community who cared deeply.

IMG_6965[1]I remember going on a winter beach holiday not long after.  The owner of the guest house greeted us and made a joke about my ‘poor father living in a house full of women’. I saw the anguish on your face when you tried to explain that it hadn’t always been this way.

I wonder what you were talking to your friend about on that cold day.

Somehow we all got through it. You had a family who needed you and a young baby to care for. I wonder if your baby daughter helped…giving you a temporary distraction from such an unbearable loss.

IMG_6969[1]I took a photo of his things to help remember him. When you close your eyes do you still see his face?

The months became years and the pain eventually didn’t seem to sting quite so much.

You taught me resilience.

We grew up, left home, went to university, traveled the world.

You taught me the value of education and made me aware of a world full of infinite possibilities.

You became a florist, delighted people with your creativity, surprised us all with your business savvy and worked hard like you’d always done, because now you were finally doing something for yourself.

You taught me that women can have careers as well.

IMG_6978[1]You became a long distance granny and I really missed not having you around when I became a mother.

IMG_6947[1]I loved how you and the kids connected at such a deep level when we did get to spend time together. I remember seeing you holding my boy, your grandson, the love was palpable. I had to go to my bedroom and cry my eyes out… thinking about who you had lost, what you had missed.


And just a few months ago, on Christmas morning I saw you with my now grown up son and loved that you hugged him like he was still a little kid and understand why you have such a deep affection for him.

When you eventually retired it was so good to have you around a bit more. Although you didn’t stop. You thought nothing of organizing dinners for eighty women. Women who were single or lonely and needed friendship and community as much as you did.

And you still found time for me.

I will never forget how much you helped at my factory, running the shop during the craziness of Christmas, making it look beautiful, looking after the customers. And when it all fell in heap, and we had to clear out that giant warehouse, you thought nothing of making that 8 hour drive, rolling up your sleeves and coming to help. And as I was consumed with throwing so much stuff into the dumpster, you even thought to save a few precious relics, so that I would have reminders of my success…when I was ready to look.

Having you there, when I was at my lowest, was what got me through that really tough time.

Akuna-The Dinner_5929

I now get to spend more time with you and Dad. We loved throwing that surprise dinner for your 50th wedding anniversary and Dad said, like he always does, how beautiful you looked…and always have. He still adores you.

You weren’t surprised when I said I was writing a book. You always thought it was something I would do.

And to tell you the honest truth I wasn’t so surprised when you began to read it and said you worried about what people would think…it was never going to be a book you’d enjoy.

But I thought I’d show you a message from a reader that might help you understand…


Dear Anna,

OK, so I just have to say thank you. Thank you for writing a story about an independent woman who is strong willed and even when she finds love she is true to herself.

After reading your wonderful trilogy we girls at work were keen to find something new.  Novel after erotic novel, all the same and so very boring. Why must they all follow a similar path…needy woman meets rich, depressed, hurt, controlling entrepreneur man, who takes over every aspect of these women’s lives.

Pffft…I’m over it!

Again, thanks, your books are the best…a truly brilliant read’

Much love,

S. W. (a real, independent and strong woman!)

You see Mum, I could never have written these books, with strong female characters, if it wasn’t for you.

You are strong, independent and stand up for the things you believe in.

You value your community and the opinions of others.

You love your husband, your family and have given us a place to return home to.

You are my role model and taught me how to be a grown woman.

You are an affectionate and supportive mother who showed me how to love, how to live and how to follow my dreams.

Thank you my darling, much love this Mothers Day…and always x 


Anna Buckley Books

Love you to read my books

The Lost Woman series follows the sexy adventures of Christina as she makes her way through a world of new media, design, fashion,  travel, and … men.
The complete series is available now at Amazon, Kobo, Google Books, Barnes & Noble and iBooks, both as eBooks and print books. They can also be ordered from any book store, or by mail order on the BOOKS page.



28 responses to “A Letter to my Darling Mum”

  1. Anna Buckley! I loved this so much. Your writing is magnificent and I felt so strongly the love you and your gorgeous mum have for each other. I just want to read more and more about your life. What is this factory you speak of!?!
    The picture of you and your brother and sister in a very 1970s portrait was so lovely – his paisley shirt was divine and his smile so lovely. I noticed this before I, of course, read the further tragic twist. Gah! How cruel. Unfathomable.
    Thank you for writing this years ago and then sharing it again today in 2020. So beautiful.


  2. Thank you for sharing this story.
    I could not hold back the tears. Warmest wishes to you and your family.


  3. Really lovely. Funny how you can live in the same town and not know very much about some-one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true Kerry. Sometimes these things just don’t come up in everyday conversation. Much love to you on this day of mixed emotions x


  4. Sometimes we amaze ourselves with the words that pour out of our hearts. Lovely.


    1. Thanks gorgeous Debbie for the kind words on the day your grandchild is due to be born….hope everything goes well for your daughter xx


  5. Beautiful writing about your mum and family, very moving. I stumbled across this and glad I did. Thank you. Kay

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kay, it was the most difficult, but rewarding, thing I’ve ever written.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have just “stumbled” across this & am deeply moved – wonderful memories of a beautiful family who extended their friendship to me many years ago, when I was embroiled in my own different family problems. How wonderful to revisit you in this way!
    Fondest regards
    Sue (nee Skinner)


    1. Hey gorgeous Suzanne (Skinner) so lovely to hear from you! Great memories of our school years together. Love to catch up x


  7. Jenny Watson (nee Platten)

    Your family was also very special to me. I was a member of the Uniting Church, and knew Mum & Dad, I loved young Richard and I can remember during one service the young people were participating, and young Richard came riding up the aisle on his bike. At the time when Richard passed away Libby was friends with my daughter Karen, and spent a lot of time at our place. Your Mum & Dad have been a great example of a Christian couple, and many people could look up to them for support. What you wrote was lovely , and your family must be very proud of you. Jenny Watson xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jenny I remember you well. You lived in the street behind ours I think? So lovely to hear from you, will let Mum and Dad know you’ve been in touch x


  8. wow, really loved reading this wonderful story of your darling mum. xx


    1. Your Mother’s story is equally inspiring x


  9. I adored your mum, admired your father (who taught me the difference between a 5c and 10c bag of lollies was 5c), loved Libby like a sister and was jealous if Richard’s free spirit. Your family has made it’s mark in a wonderful way.


    1. Thanks Mike, what beautiful words. In Adelaide today will be heading home to catch up with mum and dad tomorrow. I love that you thought of my brother as a ‘free spirit’. Much love Anna x


  10. Anna, this is such a beautiful tribute to your mother. Thanks so much for sharing all of this with us! I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!


    1. Thanks Debbie, had a wonderful day, went to a Vietnamese restaurant, presents and lunch with kids. Seeing mum on Wednesday.
      Love to you and your mum x.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautiful Happy Mother’s day

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A beautiful and moving tribute. You know your mum is so proud of all your achievements….and she can add ‘published author’ to the list of accomplishments, without having to read past chapter one herself! Love to our mums; our strong, brave, role models. xxx


    1. Yes KJ, and much love to your amazing and brave Mum as well x


  13. Thank you Anna, I’m so very glad you have shared your letter in this post. I was so fortunate to have been there as tears flowed yesterday as you gave such a loving and vulnerable account of the relationship between Mother’s and Daughters. You are a fierce advocate for Women. A funny and irreverent speaker, who reminds us to own and love ourselves, our bodies, our strengths and our soft edges.
    Thank you,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sophie I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to talk with and meet such a wonderful group of women.
      And Sophie, as mothers go, you are a true inspiration. Much love to you and your two beautiful daughters Xxx


  14. What a beautiful tribunal, Anna. You and your mom are amazing women and i was so sad to read about your loss. She’s lucky to have a daughter as empathetic as you are and you are lucky to have such a resilient and loving mother. Xo. Just beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amanda, I will be seeing her next week and show her your lovely message x


  15. Wow! What a wonderful tribute to your mother (and father). I loved how you bolded the divisions between thoughts (it helped make it read easier) and all the family stories.

    My suggestion? Put it into a photo album along with even more pictures. Or just use these. But put it into something permanent the kids can pull off the shelf years from now. This is precious and it’s valuable. It’s the story of your Mom.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nancy. The difficult thing is that I had very few photos of her when she was younger because they are still in mums albums. She doesn’t use the internet or have a computer. I’m going home next week so I’ll print out the post and give it to her then.
      Gave the talk yesterday and it’s prompted lots of women to write a similar letter to their own mum.
      Cheers Anna

      Liked by 1 person

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