When Mum died

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Peter Leith is 89 and describes himself as “half-deaf and half-blind”, but he has never been one to dwell on his challenges. When Mum died continues his series of true short stories.


We had only visited her three weeks before and the news of Mum’s death came as a big surprise even though she had a weak heart for many years.

Eventide, the home she lived in for years, was just so good about contacting the family. First they tried to contact brother Bill in Darwin, but he moved house two years ago and forgot to give Mum his new phone number or address. Luckily they also had my mobile number and were able to contact me where we were on holiday on Hamilton Island.  

They offered to make all the arrangements – they have all the right contacts anyway – which was very good because Bill could not get time off from his work and we had only just started two weeks’ holiday and could not afford to cancel and lose all that money.

Eventide arranged the private cremation and have kept Mum’s ashes for us to collect, along with all her bits and pieces, when we get back from holiday.

When Bill comes down from Darwin for the reading of Mum’s will, we have decided to have a quiet family get-together and sprinkle Mum’s ashes at the beach alongside Dad’s.


This is one of a series of short stories in a growing collection called Aspects of Ageing. Peter says the anecdotes are based on fact and “reflect the reality that there are many forms of ‘age abuse’.”

Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to [email protected] and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.


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Written by Peter Leith


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