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My mum died

It was a shock to all of us, and i know lots of you talked with her last week, which makes if very hard to believe we won’t talk to her this week. It’s very strange.

but my mum wasn’t one to wait around for an invitation. And she wasn’t one to dilly-dally over a decision. And she found it hard to leave things until the time was convenient to anyone else. She died as she lived: bluntly, without warning.

And that is how she always expressed her love, bluntly. She presented gifts out of the blue, objects which had significance to her. we were ordered to take care of them. She schemed schemes to improve our lives, and i know many people found themselves on the receiving end of those schemes.

Her love was in her presence, her words, her poems, lately her emails. She made endless visits all over the country – she would travel any distance for dinner with a friend. And she passed on that love, and that independence. On good friday i was in Canberra, Matthew was in Melbourne, Philip was in Adelaide. We had all spoken to her on Thursday, and we were all with friends when we heard

She feared nothing, my mum, nothing and no-one. We were more afraid for her than she was, which turned out to be crazy. For all our fears that she would die by walking under a bus, by falling off the train station, or be killed in a car crash where she was the driver; and for all her fear that she would die slowly, losing her mobility, her ability to communicate, and most of all her independence; after all the deals she made with anyone who she thought could keep her out of a nursing home, she died in the night, in her bed, at home.

I will finish my tribute to Leah with a tribute to the people who made her independent life possible. people who loved her with an open hand. Nan and Ray, and the whole Anforth clan, and my Dad. People who cared so much for her but didn’t let their concern become a prison, which so many people in her childhood would have done. She spent so much of her life fighting against restrictive forms of care, and with the help of all those who have loved her so openly, she has returned freedom to so many of our lives.

–> Leah’s memoir