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It’s been a year since my mom passed away. I have been thinking about putting some thoughts and experiences down in writing, and until today I just couldn’t. My mom’s name was Alvine Lestal and she was 94 years old when she passed away. Her life was filled with adventure and adversity, comedy and tragedy, but most of all love. Despite enduring hardships that would make some people bitter, her glass was ALWAYS half full. At the age of 21 she was compelled to leave her home, her friends, her life as she knew it. It was 1944 and the Russians were advancing towards Estonia and it was just a matter of time before they annexed and occupied the country, inflicting 48 years of terror and harsh rule. My mom left Estonia escaping to Germany living in several DP camps before finally meeting my dad and moving to Australia. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to leave everything behind and start over with nothing but your will and determination.

My mom was my best friend and confidant, she was my rock. She taught me patience, respect, resilience and not to sweat the small stuff. In the years preceding her passing it was my responsibility to look after her. My family moved in with her and took care of her daily needs. It was a natural progression in our relationship and we didn’t consider other options. Towards the end she became immobile and could no longer wear the myriad of clothes hanging in her closet. For months after she left us I would stand in her closet and stare at her clothes. I couldn’t move them. Everything had matching pieces and accessories. I sincerely regret not being able to provide her with comfortable, fashionable wear. A solution like Monarch is what we were waiting for.