Feminism, politics and death: my mum died the night Hillary Clinton lost

Feminism, politics and death: my mum died the night Hillary Clinton lost

click photo for more information
Feminism, politics and death: my mum died the night Hillary Clinton lost
They may seem like unrelated events but the end of Clintons campaign and my mothers life made me reflect differently on my own political career My mother died the night Hillary Clinton lost. These might seem like two very unrelated events and youd be right about that. But for me, and my somewhat particular circumstances, […]

They may seem like unrelated events but the end of Clintons campaign and my mothers life made me reflect differently on my own political career

My mother died the night Hillary Clinton lost. These might seem like two very unrelated events and youd be right about that. But for me, and my somewhat particular circumstances, Ive found a plethora of meaning about life and death, feminism and politics.

See, it was also the night I was due to be sworn in as a councillor for my local city council. It was my first political foray and Ive reflected on the start of my own political journey while on the other side of the world a smart and skilled female politician saw the end of hers, with our whole gender brutalised by a despicable Trump. And though Mum doesnt know it, all my political guts I got from her.

Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 days before the 2016 Australian federal election. Dad called me from Canberra to say he had taken Mum to hospital and she had acute pneumonia. I was going through the processes of my Labor nomination for council elections. With days to the federal election, every spare moment I wasnt working I was door-knocking and pre-polling.

I dont remember that first conversation with Dad. I do remember the call the next day when Dad told me Mum had terminal cancer (as well as acute pneumonia) and the cancer had spread through her ribs, spine and pelvis. I was at my desk so I booked a flight home and, as I headed out the door, asked a colleague to cancel me out of every election activity I was signed up for.

Breast cancer is a disease that inflicts itself predominantly on women. Its also one of the most misdiagnosed cancers around. Mum had her last mammogram only months earlier and it hadnt appeared. I grew bitter quickly.

At the same time this was a federal election where it was one bloke versus another bloke versus another bloke, and women barely seemed to get a mention. I had volunteered the bulk of my time on campaigns to support female candidates in tough Victorian seats, none who won. I sat bedside my mother who taught me everything and watched women largely erased out of public life.

On Sunday 3 July, a day after the federal election Mum was only in the second week of a disastrous five week stint in hospital my journal shows compassion draining out of me:

I suspect I will grow rough and battle hardened and unforgiving from this. A part of me hopes I will. Perhaps I will grow ruthless and mean and brutal like life and that might make me powerful like men. I dont think Mum will like the new me. Ill have an excuse to be mean now, finally.

I thought at length about quitting the council race. We didnt know the timeline Mums cancer was working to, although wed been told up to 24 months for stage four breast cancer. I was enjoying caring for her and all her needs. But quality of life for Mum was also about quality of life for her daughters and, honestly, I just always thought shed make it a little longer.

So I ran my council campaign in between working full time and flying back home to care for Mum, alternating every second weekend with my sister. Offering a parallel world to my campaigning life, my life with Mum gave me such relief. I loved the quiet nights I shared with her. From the carers bed in her room, I would lie facing her and would listen for her breathing as her lungs drew in air from her oxygen tank.

In late October, I won the third and final spot at the council ward elections; Mum went back into hospital and I flew home again.

While nothing can prepare you for the death of a parent I did everything I could to prepare myself. I read memoir and non-fiction (by women) and I talked with women who had experience, both personal and professional.

In the final days, as Mum slept sedated, I read A Very Easy Death by Simone de Beauvoir. It was the 50th anniversary of the translation of the French feminists account of her mothers death. The months of that death also mirrored my mothers own: a few long weeks over October and November.

De Beauvoirs mothers death was frightening to me because it was everything her maman didnt want. She wasnt ready for death and her medical wishes were not respected: the doctors operated on her even though she had begged de Beauvoir that she wouldnt let them touch her body. Her final moments were full of pain and distress. De Beauvoir wasnt even there as she had slept through the panicked phone calls from her sister.

I was not watching the US election results that afternoon and evening in November. Mum was at Canberras public hospice set amongst beautiful gardens and overlooking Lake Burley Griffin. For the last few days she had been heavily sedated. Mums breathing changed late in the afternoon and we knew, not long now.

In academia, philosopher Michel Foucault called it a heterotopia, but most of us might think of it as a bit of a headfuck, a space or place in time that has more meaning or relationship to another space than it might first appear. As my mum lay dying, I was in a room full of strong women with her. My cousin brought in the bad news from the US and I slumped in my chair beside Mum, overwhelmed by yet more insurmountable grief. I thought if I was back in Melbourne, if my mum wasnt dying, Id be at my council ceremony right now and Hillary might even have been winning but here I was in this awful parallel universe that happened to be real.

Mum died that night. A little after midnight, I woke from a light doze and Mum was turned slightly in her bed, facing me and she had stopped breathing. I leaned in close and checked for a pulse on her wrist. Her skin was so perfectly warm. The family all woke and we said our goodbyes.

I stayed with Mums body till morning. I picked out clothes for her as the nurses cleaned and dressed her. Then finally watched on as they are you ready for this? put Mums body into the transport bag. I followed the nurses as they pushed her bed down the hallway to the cold room, where I thanked them and having already said my goodbyes, left for my car and for my first day without my mum in a bleak, bleak new world.

In the months after, it was through the company of women, and particularly women who have lost their mothers, that I have found my feet again. I havent turned bitter and mean as I once thought or hoped I would. My feminism is softer with new compassion but also bolder with new militancy.

Im still finding my political feet, but Ive been elected to a council with majority women membership plus we have a female mayor and CEO too. At every council meeting I reflect deeply on the values, learnt from my mother, that drive my decision-making even if at times they wont make me popular.

I dont see much of Hillary in the news these days, which Im thankful for. It reminds me of Mum each time and when I do, bystanders watch me dab at my eyes and think she must really have liked Hillary. Little do they know that was the night my mum died.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jun/18/feminism-politics-and-death-my-mum-died-the-night-hillary-clinton-lost

This Is What Happens When You Change Your Bad Habits

click photo for more information
This Is What Happens When You Change Your Bad Habits
The 4ft 10″ 20-year-old, who goes by the name of melephants and who once weighed 143lbs, lost around 30lbs by eating properly, counting calories, and hitting the gym four to five times per week. She started by adjusting her eating habits (“I base my meals around a source of protein now (chicken, fish) and lots […]

What Its Like To Be In Love When You Have Depression

click photo for more information
What Its Like To Be In Love When You Have Depression
No one will love you until you learn to love yourself is an easy enough phrase to believe is true. But its terrifying, especially when you have depression. What if you never learn? As a teenager, it made me fear for my life as an adult. I was certain I would never be capable of […]

Hate To Break It To You But You Are The Reason Your Life Sucks So Much

click photo for more information
Hate To Break It To You But You Are The Reason Your Life Sucks So Much
If you think your life sucks, it probably does. If you think the world is out to get you, it probably is. If you think you deserve more, you probably do. The only thing in the world holding you back from achieving greatness is in fact you. If you think the world is out to […]

Indonesian Pro Soccer Goalie Dies After Collision During Match And It’s All Caught On Video

click photo for more information
Indonesian Pro Soccer Goalie Dies After Collision During Match  And It’s All Caught On Video
This is so, so sad. A goalkeeper for an Indonesian professional soccer team died this weekend from injuries sustained during a match in the country when he collided with another player, went down hard, and immediately started convulsing until first responders rushed on to the field to help him. The goalkeeper, a 38-year-old veteran athlete […]

Meet The Volcanologist Running For Congress

click photo for more information
Meet The Volcanologist Running For Congress
If I can get people to understand the difference between weather and climate, then we could solve a lot of problems were faced with right now, Jess Phoenix tells IFLScience. Neil deGrasse Tyson did a pretty sweet job conveying this on Cosmos. She then adds: Unfortunately, you cant make everyone watch Cosmos. Its 2017, and […]

The 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities on the Planet

click photo for more information
The 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities on the Planet
The bicycle makes sense in cities. With rising urbanization, our cities need modern mobility solutions, and moving around on two wheels proves time and again that it can offer results. Investment in bicycle infrastructure is a modern and intelligent move. Plenty of research shows the social, economic, environmental, and health benefits of urban cycling. Studies […]

Angel’s Incredible Transformation

click photo for more information
Angel’s Incredible Transformation
Meet Angel, a dog whose name has a meaning. When she was brought to Rescue From The Heart, an animal rehabilitation center, many feared that she had no chance. Angel was incredibly malnourished and her spirit was broken. That’s when the people at Rescue From The Heart got together and decided they wouldn’t give up […]

Gwen Ifill Dead at 61

click photo for more information
Gwen Ifill Dead at 61
The long-time PBS reporter and anchor battled cancer for roughly a year, The Daily Beast has learned.”> Long-time journalist and newscaster Gwen Ifill has passed away at the age of 61, PBS confirmed on Monday. The Daily Beast learned that Ifill was diagnosed with endometrial cancer less than a year ago; and was, as someone […]

Charlie Gard parents announce death of ‘beautiful boy’ – BBC News

click photo for more information
Charlie Gard parents announce death of ‘beautiful boy’ – BBC News
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionEleven-month-old Charlie Gard was at the centre of a legal battle over his treatment Charlie Gard, the baby at the centre of a legal row over his treatment, has died, a family spokesman has confirmed. The 11-month-old was moved to a hospice following a High Court ruling. […]

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Soda Can

click photo for more information
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Soda Can
Drinking soda isn’t the best choice health-wise, but if you must, here is how to make the most of it!

Picture of the Day: Crashing Waves Over Sydney Harbour Ferry Railings

click photo for more information
Picture of the Day: Crashing Waves Over Sydney Harbour Ferry Railings
Photograph by Haig Gilchrist (@ihaig72 on Instagram) Recent winds have been stirring up the waters of Sydney Harbour as Haig Gilchrist’s Instagram photo of waves crashing over the railings of a Manly passenger ferry has gone viral. Manly ferry services connects the Sydney suburb of Manly with Circular Quay in the CBD a journey of […]

When White Girls Deal Drugs, They Walk

click photo for more information
When White Girls Deal Drugs, They Walk
Sarah Furay was called adorable and photogenic for allegedly selling Ecstasy, cocaine, and weed. Would that have happened to a black girl? Death and Taxes, the first to run a story calling Furay adorable wrote a formal apology for the mistake. Twenty-four hours after authorities arrested Sarah Furay on charges of drug possession and manufacture […]

They gave each kid a Barbie and a doll with real proportions. What they say next really says it all.

click photo for more information
They gave each kid a Barbie and a doll with real proportions. What they say next really says it all.
What’s wrong with Barbie? Well, for one thing, her body dimensions are completely unrealistic. For a school project on eating disorders, college student Galia Slayen took Barbie’s measurements and created a life-size version that is disturbing to say the least. Barbie’s unnatural body dimensions inspired Nickolay Lamm. Artist Nickolay Lamm had the idea to create […]

HEALTH & WELLNESS (EP.#4): TOXIC DEODORANT STINKS – sisterberry

click photo for more information
HEALTH & WELLNESS (EP.#4): TOXIC DEODORANT STINKS – sisterberry
NON-TOXIC DEODORANTS Save 10% off at Garden City Essentials (including deodorant) with promo code “sisterberry10”: https://www.gardencityessentials.ca/garden-city-essentials-deodorant.html Weleda Sage Deodorant: https://www.weleda.com/product/s/sage-deodorant#showSlider Pure & Simple Refreshing Tea Tree Deodorant (100% of proceeds go to the David Suzuki Foundation)t: https://pureandsimple.ca/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=2231 David Suzuki Foundation: http://www.davidsuzuki.org MAKE-UP LOOK – Jane Iredale Smooth Affair Facial Primer – Jane Iredale Dream Tint […]

Houston police officer battling cancer braves floodwaters to rescue residents

click photo for more information
Houston police officer battling cancer braves floodwaters to rescue residents
A Houston police officer battling stage 4 metastatic colon cancer has helped to rescue hundreds from the floodwaters left behind by historic storm Harvey. Norbert Ramon, who has been with the Houston Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement division for 24 years, received the call from his sergeant as the rain started to fall on Saturday. “He […]
load more posts