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My amazing mother

I’m not a mother, but on a walk the other day I found myself singing about a situation in which I’d recently had to let go of something I loved deeply. That reflection left me with a new level of appreciation and awe for mothers who love and let go, because they want their beloveds to fly, even as they yearn to keep them by their side. The world has grown (we’re all so much more spread out) as much as it has shrunk (but I can chat to Dad in Bali for free, and keep in touch with friends in Australia on FB) and so we’re not always face to face as much as we might wish…

So I wrote this poem about letting go, and it feels right to share it today, in honour of all mothers, and in Gratitude to my own mother, who once called me a bird, and continues to encourage me to spread and use my wings.

Letter NI bird

A letter I wrote, published in the New Internationalist magazine back in 2003.



I loved you

so I hated to let you go

but I loved you enough

to want your success

more than temporary grief relief

so I smiled, and blessed, and thanked

you, and found space to cry

in my own time

for longer than expected

truth be told


But it passed

and I found new ways

to serve that love

that never went away

but paid attention when asked

to change direction

find new expression


So now I whirl thermals

beneath your wings

even when they take you

to places I canโ€™t follow

I swallow the sadness

and wave you off

because if I keep waving

youโ€™ll keep coming back

for another

goodbye –

now fly!