I said goodbye to my mum on loudspeaker

WOMAN'S OWN|June 29, 2020

I said goodbye to my mum on loudspeaker
Sophia Essel, 30, lost her beloved mother in heartbreaking circumstances

Sitting in the pub with my mum, I laughed as she came back from the bar with another bottle of prosecco. It was 13 March this year, and my mum, Kay, and I had met up for a few drinks. To us, it was just a normal Friday night – but, across Europe, the threat of COVID-19 was dominating the headlines. Doctors in northern Italy were warning that mass deaths would soon arrive on UK shores – but, that night in the pub, the virus felt worlds away and Mum was in good spirits, chatting and laughing away as usual.

To describe Mum as the life and soul of the party would be an understatement. She never took life too seriously, always had time for everyone, and she loved to sing and dance. My brother, James, and I would often wake up to hear her singing downstairs, and she never missed an opportunity to get on stage, singing away to Shania Twain or Tina Turner.

In 2010, when Mum was 42, she married John, then 55. They both loved to travel, and they started jetting off every month, flying to Cape Verde, Spain, the Maldives, and going away on cruises.

Then, in 2015, Mum’s love of travel landed her dream job at Tripadvisor, as a reviewer. ‘I’m going to be paid to fly all over the world!’ she told me excitedly, and I felt myself brimming with pride. She’d always been firm in her belief that the sky was the limit, and now she was proving it to all of us.

But the morning after our night at the pub, Mum phoned me to say she was feeling under the weather. ‘I’ve been sick,’ she told me.I put it down to the alcohol, telling her to get some rest.


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June 29, 2020