Mam bought me my first comics, taught me to read before I started school, and encouraged me to draw. I produced my own comics as a child, in biro on folded sheets of cartridge paper, and mam would stitch the pages together with needle and thread because we didn't have a stapler. When, at age 20, I quit my dead-end job, mam encouraged me in my ambitions to be a comic artist.
We were always a small, close family. My dad had died suddenly in 1974 and mam never remarried. My Aunt Joan, who lived a street away, had slight learning difficulties so mam and I were always around to help or just give her guidance. Mam was devoted to looking after Joan, moreso as they grew older and Joan's arthritis affected her walking. Although I bought my own house in 1990 it was only a few minutes walking distance away so that I could help out too.
Aunt Joan passed away in 2006, and mam's health deteriorated after then too, so caring for her increasingly took up more time as I'd see her several hours every day. Not that I minded. As you can appreciate from the few things I've mentioned here, I owe my mum everything. I would never have gained an interest in comics without her initial encouragement in my reading and drawing, and I would certainly never have pursued a career in comics without her unwavering support. She was not only my mother, she was my best friend, with a great sense of humour, always young at heart, and good company.
My mam, who never put herself first, who selflessly devoted her life to my grandad, my aunt, my dad, and me, would want me to keep going. So I carry on, because as I said, I owe her everything.