Mother’s Day 2020: Kerri-Anne Kennerley writes letter to mum


Grace Isabell Wright you have always been a very stylish woman.

Never one to lounge around looking untidy. I remember a saying about something worn that you disapproved of “I wouldn’t wear that washing”, you would say. Your smart appearance had nothing to do with money or lack of it as we grew as a happy working class family of four kids with you and dad doing your very best to keep us clothed, fed and tidy and out of trouble. The house inside and out was always immaculate.

Mum, you’re 98 and heading quickly for 99 not out! You might not be very mobile and in need of high care but I love having you live with me. We still have great conversations and your imagination is extraordinary and fun. You still have a determined will to try and do things yourself because pressing a button for assistance would be too easy. ‘I don’t want to bother anybody.”

media_cameraKerri-Anne Kennerly with mum Grace Isabelle Wright

Gee no bother at all finding you on the floor and trying to get you up! But we laugh. On my Instagram page two years ago, you managed to get thousands and thousands of likes (far more than I have ever managed to get) dancing around to Meghan Trainor’s All about that Bass. You could really groove and everyone loved you for it. You were named the Dancing Queen. You always loved to dance, in fact you met Dad at a Saturday night dance.

You grew up in Blackall, Queensland as the last of twelve kids. I can imagine it was not the easiest of childhoods but it made you independent and self sufficient. I am sure that is where I got my dogged determination from. Your childhood was cut short when your father died when you were 12.

Your early life made you even more determined to make sure your kids would have what you didn’t. You were the centre of the household and what you said was gospel. You encouraged all of us to do whatever we wanted to in life and career. If you want something go and get it.

I look back at your life and can now only appreciate what you have survived and what you thrived on. Depression and war just to start with. You married dad two days before he went to war and was posted in New Guinea. The war was never discussed but Dad was often ’not well’. We much later realised he suffered Post Traumatic Syndrome and malaria which reoccurred often. It was never discussed or diagnosed in those days. Dad was a wonderful sensitive gentleman from the Darling Downs. You nursed him though and kept the family house hold running.

Grace Isabelle Wright is 98-years-old and heading quickly for 99 not out!
media_cameraGrace Isabelle Wright is 98-years-old and heading quickly for 99 not out!

You endured the loss of a baby to cancer. A trauma still felt even in your 90s. You raised four children in a house that Dad built … physically. You worked at home and with Dad in every aspect. We were shielded from a lot of the tough times. We had everything we needed and didn’t take anything for granted.

We were one of the families to go to the main street in our PJs and watch black and white TV in the window. We survived cracker night or Guy Fawkes night. You always cooked full meals. You didn’t rely on takeaway as there was none. There was no frozen food. It was all fresh. You made our clothes on a Singer sewing machine. You nursed Dad for 17 years with prostate cancer till we lost him a 91. He could never have survived that long without you. You never had lots of friends because the family and Dad were your entire life. And it still is.

There is something unbelievably strong and capable about you and your generation. I am so glad I inherited your strength, will and survival instincts. I am also glad I inherited Dad’s height, he was six foot and you’re only 5’3. But you were always a powerhouse. The light is just a little softer now.

HOW TO SHARE YOUR LETTER OF LOVE

1. Tell us in 200 words what your mum means to you and include a picture of your mum. We will publish a section of the best on May 10. Please include NSW in the subject line of the email and send it to: letterstomum@news.com.au

*Maximum 200 words, and include full name, suburb and state.

If we publish your story your full name, suburb and state will be published. Please make sure you only send us images which you are entitled to let us publish. Not all letters will be published. Publication may be different for online and print. Online access is limited to digital subscribers only.

2. Read an excerpt to video and share it on your social channel on Mother’s Day #letterstomum #SundayTelegraph

Originally published as KAK’s beautiful letter to mum Grace



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