When my mother Olgamary was first diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2010, I asked if she had any regrets. Without missing a beat, she said, “I might not live to read the sequel to Wolf Hall.”
The story became so well-known in our circle that when Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel died last month, many friends and family members contacted me to say they were thinking of my mother and me.
Not long after my mother died in May 2020, I started writing up the story of her relationship with Hilary Mantel with a view to publishing it. At that very time, Australian author Teagan Bennett Daylight released her book The Details, about books and her own mother’s death, and published My mother taught me the joy of reading. I remember her through books. So I set aside my piece.
Hilary Mantel’s death led me back to my article, which I was surprised to discover was near complete. I wrote the ending, gave it a polish and submitted it to The Monthly Online. To my delight, they agreed to publish it. You can read the article here.
I don’t often write personal pieces, but I feel like my mother would approve. Among the loveliest feedback I’ve had on the article is that readers who knew her can hear my mother’s voice.
I miss her more than I can say.