Deborah Armstrong

Moments with My Mother by Deborah Armstrong

Deborah's Diary

Every week, I share special moments with my mother. My mother is dying from cancer. A tumour is growing on her windpipe and is slowly suffocating her. She is almost 93 years of age and has lived a good life. She is tired and is ready to leave us.

Yesterday, we held hands while a comfortable silence wrapped itself around us. We had already said our I love yous and hugged and kissed each other the previous day. We treat each visit as though it may be our last. I turned to my mother and asked her, “What do you want to do in your next life?” She smiled as though I’d asked her the silliest thing she’d ever heard and then she said, “I want to come back as a singer, not an opera singer, but a singer.”

I want to come back as a singer
I want to come back as a singer.

My mother then explained that she had sung in a choir, but she didn’t consider herself a singer. She loved opera, especially listening to the voice of Luciano Pavarotti, but she didn’t want to sing opera. She wanted to sing songs; songs that I imagine would be happy songs, with lovely melodies and no profanity.

As I give more thought to my mother’s answer, I realize that I can’t remember moments of hearing my mother sing. I’m sure she must have at some time, singing children’s songs and Christmas carols. However, I can only recall her playing the piano; she is an accomplished pianist. I have memories of my father singing Bless This House and my mother playing the accompaniment.


There will be no funeral for my mother when that time comes. We are respecting her wishes. When we can gather as a family, once the COVID19 restrictions allow, we should gather around Mom’s grand piano, and the best player among us can play Bless this House, and the rest of us will sing along. We’ll toast her with her favourite sherry and then recall our favourite stories about Mom. I’ll be sure to ask my siblings if they remember moments of Mom singing.

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