Thursday 20th January 2022

Remembering Mum’s Smile. 22/2019.

Remembering Mum’s Smile. 22/2019.

I admit it.

I inherited my Mum’s smile.

I did not always appreciate this until too late.

That was when I lost my smile to cancer.

Today it is 12 years since Mum died.


The ‘last’ great smile photo taken by me at Mum and Dad’s 60th Wedding Anniversary lunch. 2006.

Mum was unwell for around 2 years before it was found in early 2007 that she had multiple brain tumours with no known primary source.

That was it. Mum said “no more tests” when there could have been further explorations based on what the Neurosurgeon saw in her MRI. When Mum said that, he said “that is what I would say for my Mum too.”

Dad and our close family agreed of course because Mum was not a fan of hospitals, doctors or illness and in some respects that was why diagnosis was delayed. BUT….we knew Mum. And she most of all knew herself. So, over the next 6 or so weeks, she gradually worsened. We had our chance to say goodbyes and over the final days, Dad stayed at her side in the private hospital going home at the nurse’s insistence as Mum would succumb soon. She did, once he left (that is the way with many isn’t it?) and then we knew that the love of Dad’s life, the mother of two, grandmother of four, great-grandmother of 3, mother-in-law and friend of many had died.

But, we celebrate Mum often. In the years that I have passed, I have called on her help with recipes I have forgotten some ingredients in -she was a self-taught home cook and great! And what I noticed, in more recent times, was how much my smile was like hers. Dad has this image above in his unit where he moved to 4 years after her death. He still has the various dried floral arrangement she loved to make or buy. I think I did get some of my creative loves from Mum but took a long while to acknowledge that.

Mum and I have never been considered alike in body, temperament and education background …I am my father’s daughter. But I am short like she was and I have definitely inherited her love of colourful clothing.

So, when I got cancer in my upper gum and under my top lip, I missed smiling more than eating. I truly did. It came as a surprise to me just how much it meant for me to smile.

Getting my smile back in August 2018 I did not stop beaming for quite some time.

Today then I pay tribute to Mum and her smile….with a few of mine she would love too!

Thanks Mum. Here’s some from me. Love, Denyse xx

How do you remember someone who has been part of your life and now gone?

Have you inherited any of your family’s traits?

It really can be something to consider!

Thanks for viewing and reading about my Mum today: 5 March 2019, 12 years after her death.


Joining with Sue and Leanne here for Midlife Share The Love on Wednesday.

Here I am linking up with Leanne for Lovin’ Life linky on Thursday.





  1. It’s beautiful that you could look at your own smile and think of your mother. I think I have my mum’s smile as well (and am often told that). It’s nice to hear because then I feel like I always have a piece of her with me. I spoke to my brother on the phone the other day and he pointed out that I also have her laugh. No one’s ever said that before, so maybe it was just in the moment. But it was nice too. xx

    • Oh I love that comment from your brother. Yes, keeping those memories with you, Mum IS by your side. Thanks so much for sharing. I often think about Mum more these days as I age. I did not appreciate her as much until around the last few years. I get to talk to Dad about her too and he will be spending his day quietly.

      I am excited for you and these wedding prep days…fun and hard times too….’the pleasing of people’ factor I recall in being Mother of the Bride many years back. Mother of the Groom was when I babysat the two kids; at the wedding: and then brought them home to sleep. Fun times.

      Denyse x

  2. She was lovely, Denyse.

    • Thanks so much. Just had a chat with Dad & he is going out to dinner with my bro and sil to raise a glass to her tonight.

      Denyse x

  3. What a gorgeous and touching post. Hugs to you – and smile. Bring her back with you, briefly.

    • Thank you Lydia. I have gained far more respect for my mother and how she dealt with her life as I have aged. Her smile is a connection for me and the generations who follow. My eldest GD has a smile like Mum’s too.

      Denyse x

  4. A smile is such a gift to ourselves and to others Denyse. I’m so glad you got yours back (and your ability to eat more than slush!) Lovely to see your Mum smiling and shining through in the pics. I think you both exude warmth and laughter – that’s a great legacy.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • Thanks so much Leanne. Yes, Mum sure had the smile and it was genuine. In this big shot, it was her “last” good day really. Mum and Dad celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary with us kids and our kids at a family lunch in November 2006 . It took a LOT of effort for Mum to attend and I took as many shots as I could. Dad is cropped out of this and it ended being the large photo at her funeral in March 2007 and Dad still has it front and centre in his apartment. I am so glad I got that smile in that shot!!

      Denyse x

  5. Hi Denyse what a lovely tribute. My Dad died from Bowel Cancer a month before my daughter, Rachel was born. It was on 11th March 1981 and it only seems like yesterday. How lovely that you and your Mum share the same smile. Thinking of you and thank you for sharing with us at #MLSTL. xx

    • Oh that is bittersweet for you Sue. I do hope you continue to have the wonderful memories and share them with your children and grandchildren.

      Even though Mum died before 5 of our grandkids were born, the children know of her and our last GD has Mum’s name as her middle one.

      I did not appreciate the sameness of our smiles for many years. Getting older has taught me more kindness I think!

      Denyse x

  6. Denyse, your mother is beautiful and what a wonderful smile! Those photographs are so precious. I am treasuring every moment and opportunity with my mother because as you know, I am now very familiar with the pain of losing a parent. xo #TeamLovinLife

    • Yes it must be quite strange to visit Mum and your Dad is not there. I think while Dad still lived in the family home for over 3 years after Mum died it was not the place it used to be.

      Once he moved to his now Unit, with memories of Mum in photos and nick nacks she liked so much, there is no sadness in that place.

      Interesting times though for him as he is getting more frail yet very on the ball mentally. He hopes to ‘die where he is’ rather than go anywhere else at 95.

      Denyse x

  7. She had a beautiful smile and you absolutely share that. The best thing about coming to Sydney as often as I do these days is to spend some quality time with my parents – I appreciate them so much more now that I’m older.

    • Thanks Jo. It took me till the last two years to realise that about Mum. I have slowly been more taken with just how much she did for me as a child and teen. I think it was in my mothering years when I was so very different to her that there was an element of judgement.

      Mum never worked outside the home and I did because I needed to and I liked it. So I know Dad understood that about me, but Mum not so much. Yet she would help out with our then kids and she and Dad were often welcoming the kids to their house for ‘holidays’.

      I am glad that you are taking that time to be with your parents. I must say, that when Dad eventually dies, I will have no one really (my younger bro is around of course) to ask questions about ‘our family life’ so I do quite a bit of that when I am there.

      Denyse x

  8. What a wonderful shared smile. My mother recently passed at 99 years old and people tell me I look like her but I wonder if it’s the silver hair that she gifted me with. LOL

    • That made me smile!! I went silver ages ago and Mum did not ever. In fact when she became very uwell and did not want to go to the hairdresser or even have her visit, Mum’s silver was on show.

      Thanks for sharing about your Mum. 99 hey! Wow. Dad is 95. That’s a record in our family on both sides.

      Denyse x

  9. Isn’t it funny the memories we retain of those we love. Every so often I look down at my freckled arms (as they’re ageing) and get an immediate flashback to dad’s arms. We’re more alike in colouring etc than my mum and I.

    And the thing I remember most is the feel of his sticky skin as I hugged his sloping shoulders. And his smile. (He’d had teeth kicked out during his football career so wore several false teeth, one of which he ditched in later years.)


    • Oh I smiled at your story of your Dad’s smile and how he got his ‘new teeth.’

      I have always been told “oh you are so like your father’ and in some aspects of his temperament I agree and the quiadruple chin even when weight is lost elsewhere. Sigh.

      But I now see Mum’s hands when I look down! And I see my Auntie’s in my daughters.

      The sensory memories you have of your father are very special.

      Denyse x

  10. This is a lovely tribute to your mum Denyse, and you both have such beautiful smiles. It’s hard losing someone special but it’s the little memories we have of them that never leave us, like your mum’s smile, it’s always a part of you. #mlstl

    • Thanks Debbie, I am in agreement with that. I like to think that qualities of mine (the good ones!) are carried into the next generation and onwards too.

      Denyse x

  11. Awww, look at your Mum! How gorgeous. Yes, you share beautiful smiles. I look a lot like my Mum apparently. People look at me and just say “you must be Brenda’s daughter!” I’m happy with that.

    • Thanks Leanne. I think you and your Mum look alike. My mum and I have not but for the smile. I was always being told “you are like your father” and it did not please me. At all.

      Denyse x