Lessons I learned about life from my mother’s early death

by Gary Younge, The Guardian, 31 December 2015

Gary Younge’s mother died suddenly and unexpectedly aged 44 when he was 19-years old. He reflects on the “three valuable lessons I would probably never have learned without her untimely death”: that life is short and precarious; that you only get one life, and while it might be short, it’s long enough to make a difference; and that you take nothing with you.

My mum crammed a lot into those 44 years. She’d raised three kids, fostered two more, migrated to a different continent, trained as a nurse, retrained as a teacher, and was a community activist. She taught numeracy and literacy at night school and Asian women English on Saturday mornings. She was a strident, working-class black lady in a world that has never valued those qualities in the same person.

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