My Mother and the Orange Lady.

My Mother 2019

I hear her sleeping, gasping at the air and check her several times through the night; mouth wide open, face matured, skin anemic.

My Mother is 84 and desperately wants to stay alive and for someone who has such a strong Catholic faith, she is also so afraid to die.

Four weeks ago she had a hip replacement and what a trial it was/is and I have been caring for her in my home, whilst she is convalescing-hence no time to write.


I pick up the pieces of other people’s lives so well normally, but right now I want to run a mile (yet again) and I know that must sound very selfish of me!

After all, how many years was she at my beck and call during my childhood.

It is my duty.

I haven’t really introduced my Mother properly throughout my writing and I wonder why? It just feels difficult to write about her, like I’m pushing against something rather than allowing the words to flow so this is going to be a very short post and maybe in time my words with regards to her, will become easier to write.

Our relationship has always been somewhat tumultuous and as a teenager, I longed for the day that I could leave home at 18 and be free of her parental constraints and pretty much feel the same way now as life has become overwhelming.

She would be devastated if she knew that I felt this way.

For me, there has always been an under current feeling of resentment that I felt, she had for me with regards to the love I shared with my Father. Once, during my teenage years and after his passing, I was trying hard to defend him in an argument and she told me that he was ‘obsessed’ with me and that I really didn’t know what kind of man he truly was…

The hurling of angry remarks about him were both painful and confusing.

My mother was born in Bedford and is the eldest of three siblings whom she practically raised until she turned 16 and life was very hard for them all. The relationship she had with my Grandmother was flawed to say the very least and I can only ever remember meeting her twice before her death in 1995/96 (can’t actually remember the year to be precise). What I do remember though, is seeing her lifeless body in the Chapel of Rest on the morning of her funeral. My Grandmother was a tiny lady and her skin looked very orange due to the fact it was late to view the body and also the undertakers, trying their best to make my Grandmother look more presentable for my Mother and I.

I looked very closely, trying to feel some emotion for a lady that I knew I should feel something for, but there was nothing-just compassion for a woman that once had lived.

My Mother cried.

My Grandmother.

There have been many recollections that she has shared with me over the years that have painted a childhood full of anguish, shame and poverty.

Mum still washes her whites by hand today having been humiliated at school by the Nuns for bringing in a dirty, grey looking hand towel for cookery.

How our past experiences effect our present life?

My parents met on a blind date in Somerset arranged by a mutual friend. At the end of the evening my father declared that he would marry my mother to which she replied, ‘Your mad!’ and sure enough, 6 months later, they were married.

My Beautiful Mum – with all her hopes and dreams in front of her.

© All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019

Author: Michelle Denness

Wife, mother to three incredible kids and aspiring writer/poet. I am passionate about sharing personal stories to empower others and this space is for me to be open and free with my thoughts. This is my journey...

11 thoughts on “My Mother and the Orange Lady.”

  1. The things we inherit from our families bring joy and pain. It is our job to take the things that make us strong and forgive the weaknesses we all have, and Michelle, be kind to yourself. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “With all her hopes and dreams in front of her. . . ” How poignant. We all live with that, don’t we? But then we figure out how to live with reality, then try to sort things out later. My mother once asked me why I didn’t write about her deep depression. I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t want to think about it, to just compartmentalize it. But maybe I should visit it, to see just how much it colored our relationship, even my own adult life. Thank you for helping ne contemplate your motherline, as well as my own.


    1. I’m so glad that some good can come out of what I write. I would say my Mother was an ‘avoider’ – put up and shut up kinda gal… it has detrimental affects in the long run and writing helps in my understanding of it all.


  3. This speaks pretty deep to the journey I’ve been on in the last year. I too was taught to be an avoider as a young boy in an emotionally abusive family. I’m now realizing I lived a mostly successful life by “doing my duties” but the reality is there is no such thing as avoiding, the pains and disappointments and fears and resentments and sadness all eventually find their way to the surface and we either stuff it back down with addictions or other (self) destructive behaviors or have it erupt through unexplained chronic illnesses later in life.

    Ultimately the best path is to do the hard work of making peace with all of it and letting Christ dwell richly within and trusting God to restore all that the locusts have destroyed.

    Continued prayers for your strength and healing as you press into discovering what we all must do, which is choose what our link will represent in the family chain 🙏

    Here’s a hint: Love wins ❤️😃


  4. I have several thoughts on this. Not being Catholic myself, is it unusual to be afraid to die?
    Second, I had the same relationship with my father but reconciled it, hopefully, later in life but I’ll never really know.
    Also, my father said basically the same thing to my mother on their first date. He died less than a month before their 50th.
    I’m enjoying your blog


    1. It’s not unusual at all. We all have different beliefs… I’m not afraid to die, my fear would be more about leaving my family too soon and not fulfilling my potential. Maybe just allow yourself to know in your heart that you reconciled and by knowing that… it’s enough. Thank you fir reading 🙂


      1. If you read back in my blog…i hope you will but don’t expect you to, you’ll know that I’ve had several close calls with death.Totally unafraid but very motivated to stay around for my family

        Liked by 1 person

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