She was a great person. A three-time hero: a teacher, a search & rescue volunteer and my mum.
I always come here to think. I don’t know what it is, staring down at the misty water from the cliffs above. It soothes me. No one comes here anymore so it’s always peaceful. All I can think about is her, my mum. All she did was help people, be a hero.
She was a geography and science teacher. She left at eight every morning and came back at three. When she wasn’t teaching, she was an amazing mother to my sister Elizabeth and me. She still made breakfast, lunch and dinner, buying all the things that we needed.
On our birthdays she had this special tradition. I was born at 4:36am and at 4:30am she would wake everyone up so that everyone would be up for the exact time that I turned a new age. I always thought it was annoying, but I know deep inside I secretly enjoyed it. Dad and she would give me my main present in my bed. We all would go back to bed for two hours and wake up again and have waffles with chocolate and gummy bears and M&M’s and whipped cream and I’d get my few little presents while eating them. We’d then go to school and all my grandparents came over and we’d have cake and have lots of fun. It was all the same for Elizabeth’s birthday, Dad’s birthday… and we would even do it on her birthday.
She and Dad also volunteered as lifeboat rescuers on evenings and weekends. They volunteered to help save people’s lives every day!
One weekend my mum and dad went out with the volunteers to a place right below these cliffs. Someone was in trouble. They went to help. All I remember is dad coming home that day. Mum wasn’t with him. He was wet… like he had just run out of the water and his eyes were all red and puffy… as if he had been crying.
Elizabeth was asking him questions like where’s mum and what happened? He just stood there. Finally, after about 5 minutes, he muttered under his voice, “Your mother and I’s boat capsized. She didn’t make it back to shore. Nobody knows where she is…”
We just stood there speechless in shock. Nobody spoke a word. My heart sank, and I thought my ears were fooling me. Finally, Elizabeth spoke. “What?”. Dad repeated.
For the next week nobody did anything. No one spoke… no one left the house… no one entered the house. No one did anything. Neighbours, family, friends all came by… nobody came in… only because we didn’t want them to come in.
After a while things were a bit more normal, but it was never quite right. Mum did almost everything and you never really notice it until she’s not there anymore. It just doesn’t feel right. Especially today, my birthday.