5 things no one tells you to do before your mum dies

On her 10th Mother’s Day after losing her mum, with heartbreaking honesty, Grazia Editor in Chief Alison Tay shares her biggest regrets
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5 things no one tells you to do before your mum dies

Talk about it

“I think I’m going to die.” I still remember my mum saying this to me as clearly as the call when she told me she had cancer. And I still remember my response. “No you’re not,” I snapped, because admitting it might speak it into existence. I’ve spent a lot of time reading, learning and thinking about death in a spiritual, neurological, and philosophical sense in the 10 years since I lost my mum, and if I could change anything, I’d have answered this differently – been braver, stood with her, and helped her face her fears, and faced mine, too.

Learn the family recipes

I learned too late that food is love, and rue every single day I chose Michelin-starred meals over my mother’s cooking. I was usually practising the piano when my mum was in the kitchen – impassioned Rachmaninoff Preludes soundtracking the sizzle of the wok on the stove - but now cooking for myself has become such an important part of how I show myself love and care, I wish I’d paid more attention.

Have a handle on your medical history

Did she have difficulty conceiving? Has she had any cervical or breast-cancer scares? When did she start the menopause? Do we have type 2 diabetes in the family? Is there a history of heart problems or osteoporosis? All questions I don’t know the answer to that could affect my health in the future. Ask your mum tonight.

Take that trip

I’m descended from two generations of fearless women who packed their bags and travelled the world to follow their dreams. And while I’ve been blessed by a career that has taken me to the fashion’s most impossibly glamorous locations – from being flown in a private jet to New York to film a show for Jennifer Lopez to partying in an life-sized ocean liner built in the Grand Palais with the late Karl Lagerfeld after his final Chanel Cruise show - I wish I’d shown my mum more of the world.

Realise she’s the best friend you’ll ever have

Your mum is actually your best friend disguised as your harshest critic – telling assembled relatives that I wasn’t much to look at but at least I had a good brain, and that the Chloe dress I’d spent a month’s salary on didn’t suit me being cases in point. However, soon after she died, it dawned on me that there’s is a lot less love for me without my mum in the world. And I wish I’d realised she was the love of my life while I had the chance.

Photos: Supplied