We asked three daughters to pen open letters to their mothers - and they'll give you all the feels

They'll pull on your heartstrings.

10 Mar 2018

As we celebrate the leading ladies in our life on Mother's Day, we asked three women to pen open letters to their mums. Whether they're thanking them for supporting them through an illness or raising them to be strong, independent women, they're sure to pull on your heartstrings.

Laura Hunter pens a heartfelt letter to her mum, who has been there every step of the way since her shock cancer diagnosis

Dear Mumkin,

The moment I heard the words 'You have breast cancer' was the moment I started to depend on you more than ever before. We collapsed into each other's arms and you cried 'I wish it was me'. But I was thankful it wasn't.

I sometimes feel selfish about how much you have had to involuntarily endure, because of the very fact that you are my mum, but I know that you would tell me off for thinking like that. Your attitude to coping and supporting me is admirable and words won't ever justify just how grateful I am.

People tell me that I am an 'inspiration' and I often get irritated hearing that, because I don't have a choice but to face my cancer diagnosis. But you do - and you choose to face it and you choose to help me through it, so really you are the inspiration. You are my inspiration.
The memories of my cancer treatment aren't pleasant, but your presence within them is always comforting. My cancer diagnosis has not only changed my life, but your life, too, and you have held my hand every step of the way.

When I felt as though I could no longer go on with the debilitating pain during treatment, you held me in your arms until I fell asleep. You sacrificed comfortable nights' sleep, instead snoozing on the sofa and listening out for me if I fell unwell in the night.

When I was crippled with nausea and could barely dress myself, you helped clothe me.

When I was losing my hair and needed help cutting out the matted pieces, you held the scissors.

When I was at my limit of exhaustion and struggled to speak, you were my voice.

When I was admitted to hospital on numerous occasions with neutropenic sepsis, with a 160 minute round trip to visit me, your presence was a constant.

Confronted with the fear of losing your daughter, you faced the unthinkable with a strength that continues to inspire me. You have been there for me every day.

You have given up so much of your time to look after me and you still continue to attend every single medical appointment and scan with me, all while juggling your job as a Paediatric Nurse and helping to care for your disabled mother.

A mother's role is challenging enough, let alone with the added weight of their child receiving a cancer diagnosis, and all that comes with it. You have been my support and strength for the past 27 years of my life and I hold so much gratitude and love for you, not only as my mother, but as my best friend. And for that reason, amongst so many others, is why you are one incredible superhuman in my eyes, and why I am more than proud to have you as my mother.

All my love and heartfelt thanks,

Laura.

(With thanks to Macmillan Cancer Support).

Jessica Rach's letter to her single-parent mother

People say there's nothing stronger than a bond between a mother and her child.

I disagree. I believe a bond between a single mother and her daughter is among the strongest.

From the moment you sent my father packing back to his tropical island when you were pregnant with me, a special connection began.

Never one to conform, you were a free-spirited hippy feminist, but also a strong, independent career woman. You had emigrated from Germany, so there were no family to help out with child-care, making us closer than ever.

While other parents were doing things the traditional way, you took me on my first backpacking adventure as a baby, travelling with me to Bali to meet my father.

From then on I was joined to your hip - an extension of your adventure-packed life, even taking three weeks out of school to go on a pilgrimage through the Himalayas.

Camping under the stars, experiencing different cultures and food, and being around such a mixed bag of people, taught me life lessons a few weeks in school couldn't compare to.

Later in life this would be invaluable for me to be accepted by different cultural friendship groups, and eventually jump from HR to TV presenting to journalism. It gave me the ability to adapt, be a chameleon and read people in a way many my age couldn't.

Your working hours at the BBC included nightshifts and Christmases, which instilled a strong worth ethic in me from a young age. Seeing you so respected by your male peers inspired me to become a tomboy, before growing into a passionate feminist.

You never married, focusing on me and your career, and this was echoed in my attitude growing up, telling peers that 'marriage was nothing but a piece of paper', much to their parents' horror.

You taught me to question everything - not standing up for yourself made you a wimp and the 'put up and shut up' attitude was for wallflowers. This got me in trouble at school, but also won me respect from teachers and later at a work compensation case.

You always taught me not to be objectified or judged by looks, but by brains - the same way men are. However, when I got into hair, make-up and racy outfits, our first differences emerged.

But despite our difference in opinion, you always gave me confidence in my appearance. When I wished I was blonde and blue-eyed, you would make me feel special about my unusual mixed heritage appearance. You taught me to embrace my uniqueness, instead of being ashamed of looking different to my peers.

One of your first presents to me was a penknife, then later a toolbox. I knew how to check the fusebox as a pre-teen, but also how to cook and do my own laundry from a young age, getting home from school while you were still at work.

At times it was lonely. Having only a mum while those around me had fathers and large families often make me abnormally scared something would happen to you.

There were awkward moments in class on Father's Day, but not once did I feel I missed out. I felt lucky I had you all to myself. You were my mum and my dad.

Being just the two of us made our relationship intense when I hit my rebellious teens, and I apologise for the years I pushed you away.

However, your strength and success inspired me to start saving for my own property aged 16, working alongside studying and becoming the first among my peers to buy a flat in London, aged 26.

And you still manage to surprise me. Since hitting my thirties, you're keen for me to focus on my personal life, and not follow in your footsteps as a single mum.

I wouldn't change my upbringing for the world, but my attitude has also changed, and while I still harbour many of my 10-year-old beliefs, I'm keen to do things the more traditional way.

From writing you letters on leaves in the playground, to spending my last £1 on you during school trips, to you helping me kick ass when I got made redundant aged 27, and being there when I called you at 2am aged 30 when a long-term relationship broke down, you are - and always will be - my everything, and I would be nowhere near the woman I am today without you.

Laura Osborne, 35, from Lavendon, pens a letter to her business partner and mother, Philippa Symes, 63

Dear mummy,

You have always instilled in me how important it is to have a goal in life, something to focus on and strive for. This was most poignant when we lost your sister, Mel, and then her son was struck by a brain haemorrhage.

I pushed past the tears, and focused on staying strong, like you'd taught me. It was a mournful wake up call. What are we doing with our lives? How can something so precious be gone in a blink? Are we making the most of every moment?

This was the final push we needed. Time was too short and precious.

I loved how we started planning day trips out together, doing things and just living our lives. Why the hell not? We went on a gin tasting course, and that was the start of another incredible journey together. We hatched the idea of creating our own gin, inspired by everything we had been through over all these many years, inspiring others, creating a brand that would reach out and connect with people, creating something powerful.

Everyone else raised eyebrows and thought, 'Pigs will fly'. We weren't taken seriously. So we banged our drum louder, we stepped up. We drew strength from the negativity and strived to prove to ourselves - and others - that absolutely anything is possible. Every now and then I would have a reality check, being more practical and down to earth, but every time I met with you or spoke to you, you would pick me up again on that cloud of dreams, driving us forward.

However, it wasn't a doddle creating our own gin like we thought. It was hard and it was stressful, but it was also so much fun and with our bond being as strong as it is and your never-ending drive to see things through, we did it. For my children, this is a message that you can't learn from books. They are seeing two strong women running their own business. Two women standing strong, banging that drum and being seen and heard.

When my nine-year-old daughter turned around to me the other day and said, "Mummy I am so excited. Did you know that if you think negatively about something, you will feel sad, and you won't get a good result. But if you are really positive, and think really good things, then you will do really well and be able to do what you want." And that, to me, means everything. I believe this comes from the incredible bond I have with you, from her seeing us work as we do together on something so out there and seemingly impossible, but making it possible. This is worth more than anything.

I don't think I will ever be as courageous as you, as brilliant as you are, as charismatic. I know I have my own qualities that I am proud of, but, my word, I am so unbelievably proud to be your daughter. I am so incredibly grateful to have you in my life, for all you have done, for all you have shown and taught me. You really are one in a million, and I would be lost without you and our incredible adventures together.

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