COMMENT: Things I Inherited From My Mother 7 years ago

COMMENT: Things I Inherited From My Mother

I have a perpetual hatred of certain things; raw onions, spiders and gin to name a few. These are traits I have inherited, without reason, directly from my mother.

I am becoming my mother. I know this as fact because for the past number of years I have observed my mother become her mother and I have enough foresight to accept the inevitable.


Last week my nana died. She was a woman I admired more than most and a woman I shared more similarities with than I’ll probably openly admit to. And while her death was heartbreaking, I realized something that fills me with equal parts happiness and dread.

We are composed of fractions of the people who surround us.

My mother and her siblings wouldn’t be out of place cast in a slapstick sitcom. They’re a mismatch of characters and it’s hard to believe at times that they fell from the same tree (and didn’t suffer any significant head injuries on the way down). They’re different, they’re unique but they each represent a special trait of my grandmother's.

My aunt Annemarie stayed in Clare her whole life. She was closest in proximity to my Nana and enjoyed sharing her routine, meat and two veg kind of lifestyle. She’s quiet and reserved and is as dependable as my nana was.


Alice, another aunt is a nurse, just like nana. She’s caring and patient and revels in devoting her time to others. Despite her own illness, she’d most likely be found scrubbing floors, painting a ceiling or attempting some other repair. Having lived alone for the last 12 years of her life, my nana never waited for a visitor to fix what needed doing. Like Alice is, she was crafty, independent and no stranger to hard work.

My uncle Pauric, the only boy, is sociable. He’s charming and popular. My nana, while reserved, had hundreds of friends. Literally hundreds. Most of who came to share their respects.

Then there’s my multi-colour haired, tattooed and tapped aunty Carmel. She’s completely different to her siblings. She’s vivacious where Annemarie is reserved, she’s impatient where Alice is calm and she’s dyed her hair more this week than my nana would have in her life-time. But she represents my nana’s most notable trait; her kindness and her giant heart.

My mother, the middle child, is the most level-headed if you ask me. And while she retains all the aforementioned traits, her outstanding attribute is her ability as a mother. She’s ambitious, she’s understanding, she’s generous and she’s forgiving. All traits I attribute to my grandmother and all traits I know I will inherit.


While my aunts and uncle in singularity may seem like opposites, as a whole they are the sum of my grandmother.

We are composed of fractions of the people who surround us.

I’m not ready to be a mother yet. I’ve lived out of home for three months and I don’t yet own an iron. But I know, with absolute certainty that when the time comes I will be a good mother - because I have a good mother. And she learned from the best.

In loving memory of Maureen Russell.