Another (Brazilian) Mother's Day without you...

Daniela Pesconi-Arthur

Bênça, mãe.
Another mother's day without you. Officially, the second, but because here in the UK mother's day is in March, this is actually my fourth. A bit "cruel", if I may say. After all, I'm an "orphan of mother" and it hurts. And it will hurt, no matter how old I get, no matter how many children I have. I will always hurt. Still, life has to go on, doesn't it? 

I called home today. I haven't called home for ages. I usually ring dad in the office, because just dialling our home number makes my heart skip a beat. Today is Sunday though, the office is closed and I haven't called dad this week yet, so I thought it would be nice to say hello on this day. It's 7.45am in Brasil now. I bet dad's in church and then I'm sure he'll go to the cemetery to place a flower on your grave (bought or "borrowed".. hehe). Or maybe not. He told me the other day that the plants on your grave have already blossomed. I know it sounds a bit weird, but I can't wait to see your grave ready. When I went there, one day after you had been burried, there wasn't anything much, although I could see the wild flowers bunch that I had sent the day before and that Giuliano took to the cemetery with him. I bought them online, on my way to Heathrow airport, and I just couldn't get myself to buy one of those funeral wreaths thingy. I remembered you'd always liked wild flowers... Now there is a sign with your name and photo. I can't wait to sit there and talk to you.

When I phoned earlier today I felt like every "activity" inside of me and around me had stopped for a few seconds. The first ring was so loud and strong and for a moment I thought you might answer the phone. Bloody hell, I thought.  What I am going to do if she, for a crazy, mysterious, supernatural reason, picks up the phone? I know. Not in a million years, right? You thought me so many times that these things are impossible, and that's not how things happen. And I believed you. I still believe you (well, not all the time, but then, that's me... your "rebel" daughter. Have always been, and guess I'll always be.) But I can still dream. After all, like I've said before, I'm an orphan of mother and I have the right to wish and to dream and to hope. Even thought it is to wish, to dream and to hope that a dead person will answer the phone and speak to me. (sorry to call you a "dead person", but even though you're my mother and I love you forever, you are not exactly alive, are you?)

Today, on another Brazilian Mother's day, I'd like to tell you, Mother, more than ever, how much I miss you. How much I wish you were still here. I miss talking to you on the phone, arguing with you (though, stubborn as we've always both been, we'd say we're just "defending our point of view"...) 

I have some pictures of when I was very little. In those photos you are always smiling, or holding me, or kissing me. I can feel your love for me, since the very beginning, and I'll carry it in my heart forever.

I'd also like to use this letter today, Mother, if it's ok with you, to wish Feliz Dia das Maes to all those women that are part of my life who are mothers, especially my mum-in-law. A massive and special kiss also to Isa, and to tia Edna and tia Romilda, who have always been like mothers to me and the girls. Maybe I shouldn't be saying any names here, really,  because my wish goes to ALL the mothers I know, family and friends.

But the most special kiss of all goes to you, Mother, wherever it can reach you. Stay with us forever.

Te amo.

Your first daughter,

Merry Christmas, Mother

Hi Mother,

It's the first Christmas without you.
Strange that this time, it was not being physically far from you that hurt the most. We hadn't spent Christmas together for over 5 years... but every year I could wish you a happy Christmas and hear your voice giving me your blessing. This year, though, I wasn't with you physically, but the worst thing was that you weren't there for me to wish you a happy Christmas. Or to hear your voice or your blessing. I thought of you all the time, Mother. I'm sure you know that. And all I wanted for Christmas this year was a "phone call from Heaven". For obvious reasons, I didn't get it.

I imagine it must have been really, really bad for dad and sisters, since they always spent Christmas with you. They went to Dan's parents' house for Christmas. I spoke with them and even tried asking a couple of times how it had gone, but how can you ask your sisters or dad :"how was the first Christmas without Mother around?". That's just ridiculous, isn't it? Mine was good, I had all hubby's loving family around, as always. But the thought that you weren't around (that you aren't' and will never be again) hurts so much!

I saw this video on YouTube today. It's a video of a song I've always loved and I think you used to play on the piano. It's called Claire de Lune. The video is part of the Disney animation Fantasia and it reminded me of you, of your going up to Heaven. Of you being freed from all the pain that the stupid cancer brought you... of you flying freely towards the moon, guided by an angel... I always wonder what comes after that, and how happy you must be now, and how healthy you must be... I hope you can see us from up there and feel all the love we have for you and that we are trying to fulfil your dreams for us. I hope you don't see us crying, though. Or I hope you don't see the nights we wake up and can't go back to sleep, thinking of you, or whatever happened to you in your last hours on this earth.

I only hope you are embraced by our love and our longing for a kiss and loving words from you again in Heaven.

Eu te amo, mae.

Your oldest daughter.

The day I finally buried you...

Benca, mae!

I know it's been a long time, but lots of things have happened in these last two months. We're in our new house, but I'll write about that later. What I have to tell you today is that.... I finally buried you.... Please, don't take this the wrong way... You know how terrible I feel that I wasn't there when you died... I didn't have time to say one last "hello" or one last "goodbye" or one last "I love you". I was too late for your funeral. Thank God I will never remember your ~ pale? yellowish? purplish? ~ beautiful soft olive-skinned body lying there, cold, lifeless, surrounded by flowers, inside an ugly coffin (aren't they all ugly?). I am so glad of that! I may even try to picture it all, like trying to imagine what the most horrible nightmare or accident or tragedy would be like. But gladly, it will always be only in my imagination; not the real thing. To my eyes, you will always have a beautiful smile and a grumpy face in the morning! =)

So, how did I bury you? And why did I only do it today?

As you know, tomorrow is my MA graduation. You were supposed to be here, remember? But don't worry. I've got your ticket safe. It will be in our "treasure box". As my graduation presente, Craig is going to give me a writing shed! To put the writing shed in our garden, we needed to prepare the base, so we measured the size of it on the floor and we have to fill it with earth, from one of the corners of the garden. I saw him doing it and it reminded me of an undertaker throwing earth inside a grave with a shovel. It gave me goosebumps and I felt a know in my throat. And I asked him if I could do it myself.

Mother, burying you was hard. Physically hard. Emotionally hard. Craig wanted to take over it, but I said no. I put all my strength in it, digging hard and throwing the earth inside the base box. It brought stinging tears to my eyes, and the more I thought of you the harder I did it, thinking that that was the least I could do for you. I buried you under my writing shed, Mother, so you can be with me whenever I sit there to write, and to cry. And I will speak to you and you'll listen to me. And I'll read all the letters and cards and notes you've ever sent to me.... I've got them all, Mother; inside our "treasure box", which I will keep over your "overseas grave", under my writing shed.

Mother, 5 months next Saturday. Dad's 68th birthday. How ironic...

He's ok, by the way. Looking much better now than right after you died. I was heartbroken when I saw him last, Mother, but now he's looking fine. Please, Mother, keep looking after us from Heaven.

I'll be thinking of you all day tomorrow. You'll be in my heart and watching me graduate through my own eyes... You will be missed.

Love you to bits.

Your first-born daughter,


Three months without you, mother...


Benca, mae!

Three months without you today... But after a week of crying and desperately longing for you, I got great news today.

Again, for the third time (3 monthly anniversaries), something good happened on the 13th of the month.

I have a hunch that it's your own way of making me smile on what are so far the saddest days of my life... In fact, the number 13 is becoming a totally harmless number; maybe one day I'll even say it's my lucky number.

Also, mother, today is the day we celebrate Our Lady of Fatima, but of course you know that. And it was also the first day of my THIRD novena to the Mary Undoer of Knots...

Well, I am happy to tell you that on the 3rd monthly anniversary of your passing, mother, I got a new job!!!! I'm so happy about that and I'm wondering whether you have something to do with it! hehe. As you always used to say to us: a mother's prayer is infallible. Imagine when you have a "direct line" to your mother who has a "direct line" to God...

What's to come next, I wonder... You know, we really, really want to have a baby, mother... =)

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you a thousand times!

I'll make you always so proud of me.

I'll love you forever.

I miss you like crazy.

All my love,

Dani. xxxxxxxx

The first mother’s day without a mother

Cardiff, 12th May 2013 
                                                                         Mother's Day (the 1st one without you)

'Benca, mae! Feliz dia das maes!!!!!'
'Eeeeeeeeee meninaaaaaaa!!!! Thanks. God bless you!'

NOT. This conversation didn't happen this year, and it will never happen again. EVER. My heart is bleeding and all I can think of is that I've had enough. I don't want to play this game anymore. It's been 3 months already, can I please speak to my mother now. I NEED to speak to you, mother. I NEED to see you again. I NEED to kiss your soft cheeks, to stroke your hair and hold your chubby, soft hands....

I've been trying to explain to myself what it is I am feeling. The closest thing I could get to it, mother is this: remember when we used to go to the supermarket (Alo Brasil, on Afonso Pena Ave.) and you tried to make sure I stayed close to you at all times? Well, it feels like I'm a child again, and I suddenly can't see you around. That place is huge, and in my littleness all I can think of is that I can't see my mummy anywhere.... That little moment of panic of not recognizing the place, the people... and the most important and terrifying of all things: my mummy is nowhere to be seen. The heart skips a bit (well, it's been quite a few bits skipped since you've gone, mother), the breathing fails and the world just seems way too big for me without you in it.

Really, can we cut this crap now? Can you please find me in one of the long supermarket aisles? I'll probably be by the chocolates and sweets. Could you please just come back and we can pretend none of this has ever happened? Please?

I can't stop seeing you in my mind. Your smiley face is just too hard to look at, mother, so much it hurts, but I can't stop looking. And I can't stop wanting more of you. I know that we'll be together again and all that, but the thought of it taking so long makes it so unbearable that sometimes I wish it could be sooner rather than later. I know this is ridiculous, and that you'd tell me off for thinking that way, but I just miss you too much. I miss you too much to want to think about anything else, to do anything else, but think of you. Simple as that.

I spoke to Xu earlier today. She and Isa went to see dad this weekend, Mother's Day. And you know what they did, mother? Of course you do. They went back 'home' and they had to pack all your stuff. Your clothes, shoes, bags, everything. They had to go through your things on Mother's Day weekend, mother. I can only imagine how hard it all was for them. I know it may be selfish of me, but I'm glad I didn't have to do it. Doing it once was enough. Doing it one day after you were buried was enough. On the other hand, I guess I'd have liked to be there. I would have got inside your closet and closed myself in there, touching your clothes, trying to smell you, to feel your presence from inside a wardrobe! They would commit me into a mental hospital if they saw me!

Mother, I'm missing you like crazy. Every day, every troubled moment. In my childish ways I think you'll be available any minute. All I want is to call 'home' and hear your voice. But I know it will never happen again...

Happy Mother's Day, mother. I hope you are resting a lot.
I love you forever! xxxxxxx

p.s. Did you see?  I made you a card....  =)

Letters to my mother

Letters to my mother


Cardiff, 15th March 2013

Benca, mae!
I’m on the train on my way to work. I’m missing you so much!
I have your Tic Tac box in my hand and I’m holding it so tight, as if I could touch your hand. I remember you always used to offer us your Tic Tacs and I never wanted any. Well, there you go… I have them in my had very often now! J
Mother, I have news (Well, it might not be news to you, being where you are and all…): we’ve got a house!
We went to view some houses on Wednesday, your one month anniversary. Mother, I felt a bit weird all day. Actually, it started in the middle of the night (Tuesday to Wednesday). I woke up in the middle of the night, and with my eyes still closed I felt this chill all over my body, from head to toe, passing over me like a scanner light. I wonder if it happened at the same time you died, Mother. I’ll never know though; I was too afraid to open my eyes and didn’t want to wake Craig and ask him what the time was.
Then on Wednesday we went to view four houses. All of them in Pencoed. We really like that area. It’s easy for Craig to come to work in Cardiff and it’s nearly half way for me to get to work in Swansea.
The first house we saw was a repossession house. Remember you’d said something about that before? You told us to call a priest and ask him to bless the house if we bought a repossessed one. Anyway, the kitchen and the garden were beautiful and huge, but the bedrooms were tiny and claustrophobic. No way.
The second house was also beautiful outside, but would be too small for a family. Not good, either.
The third one… urgh! The owner was actually there while we walked around to see it and it was really awkward. As Craig said, it was the most uncomfortable 45 seconds! (that’s how small the house was! Haha)
Now.. the last one… Ah, Mother! You’d have loved this one! It’s a bungalow, in a corner plot, surrounded by a garden! The bedrooms are big and light. The living room is not very big, but it’s cosy and there’s a coal fireplace. So cute! The bathroom and kitchen are a good size, although in need of modernisation.
The area is also very good; one of the best in Pencoed. It’s in a quiet cul-de-sac and there’s a school less than five minutes’ walk away. The train station is less than ten minutes on foot, the motorway is very close (good for Craig to go to work) and there are also supermarkets, a dentist, a surgery and a swimming pool!
All Craig and I could think of was our children playing in the garden with our future dog, Benca. (he might be a Labrador)
Craig and I kept talking about it on the train, going back home. We kept looking at each other, smiling and saying: ‘Should we go for it?’
We looked like two children about to go on a ‘huge adventure’, walking further into the garden. Haha.
We got home and sat down with the house details, photos and floor plan (oh, how I LOVE floor plans, Mother! Any similarities? J)
We drew, scribbled, knocked down walls and built extensions in our heads. We talked and talked. We decided to go for it.
Craig woke me up before our alarm went off yesterday (before 5:30 am!) to show me the email with the offer he’d sent to ‘Barbie’ (our real estate agent, haha. You should’ve seen her, Mother. Definitely a ‘Barbie’ doll!)
The house was for sale for £114,950. We offered £108.000.
We went to work, anxious, waiting for a reply.
Craig phoned me later. The owner had refused our offer. Craig then offered £110.000 and he accepted!!!
When Craig phoned me back to tell me the house was ours, I couldn’t believe it, Mother!
I’m so happy, but at the same time it seems so wrong! So wrong that you’re not here for me to tell you all about it. You’re not here to give suggestions, to cheekily stick your nose in all our plans…
Are you sure that there hasn’t been a ‘blip’ in the universe and all this has just been a huge mistake?
Mother, Wednesday, 13th March, 2013, was an unforgettable day: one month since you’re gone; we finally found ‘our cantinho’. Craig and I are so happy, so close, so ready, waiting for Barbie to show up, under a hailstone rain and everything… Just magic!
Mother, I still get hungry sometimes.
Sometimes I don’t want to write. I just wish I could talk to you and hear you back! Are you sure it isn’t possible?
I love you Mother.
I will love you forever.
Dani xxxxx

Amsterdam, 6th March 2013.

Benca, mae!
It’s been three weeks today you’re gone… L
And I was on a plane again today. To Amsterdam. This time with Craig. Trying to hide. Trying to run away from thinking about you, looking at your face in the photographs and remembering that you’re dead. Yeah… D-E-A-D. DEAD.
Today, on the plane, one more regret to add to my list: I didn’t know much about you. And I never told you much about me, either.
I don’t mean the deep, complex thing that every mother knows about her daughter. No, I mean the simple, little details. Those silly things that could have made us laugh together, for example: what things really get on your nerves?
On the plane, this morning, there was this guy sitting behind us. He wasn’t in his seat. There was a couple who were about to sit apart (terrible, I’d hate not being able to sit next to Craig and hold his hand when we travel!). The couple would be able to sit together if the man wasn’t there. He didn’t even know which seat he was supposed to be in! Excuse me! Look at your bloody ticket!, I’d say, your seat number is there! Aff!!!
Well, there. I hate it when people pretend they don’t know what they are supposed to know, and when they simply don’t read what’s right in front of their nose! Argh! This always happens in work, but I’ll tell you about that another time.
Ok. Amsterdam. I think you’d absolutely love it, Mother!
Well, where you are now you’re well, healthy and fit, so I think that walking wouldn’t be a problem, right? I say that because, Mother, Craig and I walked for Wales!
The city is beautiful, Mother. There are canals everywhere (I know you’re not a big fan of water and rivers and boats), but it’s very safe. The only dangerous thing here is the traffic, but only for tourists, hehe. There are cars, trams, buses, motorbikes and bikes. LOADS of bikes. All of them go through the same streets, but it’s very organised. Well, at least the locals are organised. We, tourists, had better always cross the streets at the traffic lights, or we may get run over!
The bikes and trams and cars come from nowhere, anywhere and everywhere!
This time we’re staying in a houseboat. I don’t think you’d like this bit (for obvious reasons), hehe, but it’s really nice and cosy. What’s better, our ‘dinning corner’ has views of the canal! It’s lovely here! J

Letters to my mother

I’m thinking about you all the time, and regretting badly all the time we had and used badly, and the time we didn’t have because I was living so far and am still a rebel child. I’m also thinking about the time we’ll never had… because now you’re DEAD. Hunf! =/

I love you forever, Mother.
<3 xxxxxxxxxxx