Portrait of Liv Lorkin, a talented author, illustrator, and designer. She is captured smiling at the camera, showcasing shoulder-length short brown hair and a freckled face. The background features illustrations on the wall, providing a glimpse into her creative and artistic environment.

Australian children’s book author, illustrator and visual storyteller. I weave magic, creativity and fun into all I do.

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Grey Hair, Sunflowers and My Late Mum’s Birthday

Today marks my late mum’s birthday, but I realise you might be reading this at any given point, so for more accuracy at the time of posting, my mum would have been celebrating her 56th year. She was 24 when she died, and I was 11 months old.

The concept of being older than her, someone who I imagine in my mind as a wise sage and a gentle guiding force in my life, often feels jarring. She should be older than me; she should have a lot more grey hairs than me, and she should be here, earthside, with me.

However, life sometimes doesn’t make sense, and I would never proclaim to know the meaning of why things happen. But I acknowledge that it’s hard, confusing, laughable, and outrageous at times.

I feel that when you’ve lost someone you love, birthdays change with them. For my own, there’s a small undercurrent of another year older than her, widening the gap between us further. When I’m feeling up to it, I like to mark her birthday with what feels right and what I’m able to manage mentally at the time.

If there’s one morbid and redeeming part about their death, it’s that you can celebrate their birthdays in any way you see fit. Right? Like if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry, or sometimes you do both at the same time.

This year I got flowers, flowers that I love and flowers, by extension, I’m sure she would have loved. I thought to myself when picking them out, “What’s the worst that can happen? She comes back and tells me she would have preferred sunflowers instead?” Either way, it’s a win.

I opted for pink pastels adorned with the Christmas ornament I crafted last holidays, in honour of my passed loved ones. I find it fitting I can use them year-round. I’m sure she would be happy with any simple acknowledgement of the day but like I said, if she’s got pointers, she can come back and tell me.

In the meantime, I’ll be here with the flowers.

Happy birthday Mum, from your older, potentially wiser and *definitely* greyer daughter.

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