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Hey Mum, it's April 1

Today is the thirteenth anniversary of my mother's death. Yes, she died on April 1. I took this as a sign that she wasn't taking it too seriously. She was six weeks away from her 80th birthday. She said 80 was just another number and she didn't care about getting there. My mother had as near to a perfect death as I could imagine, other than dying in her sleep. She was hospitalised with cancer in January and spent her time in hospital graciously entertaining the long list of friends who came to visit.

'Gracious' is the best word to describe my beautiful, gentle mother. She was brought up to be ladylike - educated in boarding schools across Europe and England while her parents lived in India. Her father was in the British Army and worked as an engineer building the railways. In my father she duplicated the authoritarian atmosphere of her upbringing, and after his death, when she was 60, she finally blossomed. She had two more relationships, travelled, bought beautiful clothes, became more confident and expressed her often wicked sense of humour.

It occurred to me last night that one of the leading characters; the lygon Honour Royale Myrra, has some similarities to my mother. Wise, gentle and rather sad. However, unlike my mother whose life improved considerably in her last years, Myrra is facing all sorts of trials and challenges. Myrra is concerned that she may not live long enough to resolve them all, or that she may work out how to resolve them, but no longer have sufficient strength.

In that respect Myrra is nearer to me. It took me until I was 54 to publish my books online, and to begin to live the life that I have always wanted - the life of a writer - although I am still juggling this with a full-time teaching job. I wish I was superwoman and had more energy, but alas I get tired. I like to think that my mother would be proud that I got there a few years ahead of her, but I will need to live until I am well past 80 to write all the stories that are in my heart. I do my best to stay fit and healthy, so let's hope I make it to the end with a long list of novels to my name.

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