My mom, Margaret Valentine, is gone.

She was something else. She lived completely in the present, never thinking much about what future had in store for her—often to her detriment. She was a free spirit in the truest sense and contained layers of complexity that I will ponder forever. There was nothing simple about her at all, and yet she led the most simple, bare-minimum life. She burned bridges and built new ones to replace them. She had friendships spanning 50 years and more. She said seeing Marlon Brando in “The Wild Ones” when she was 16 years old ruined her, and that was why she was alone: no man made her feel the way she felt when she saw him in that movie. I watched it with her on my couch a few nights ago. She would doze off then wake up and ask: Do you see it? Do you see the appeal?

Margaret Valentine

She was born in Lancashire and was a child in London during the World War II bombings. She remembered the camaraderie and excitement of being in bomb shelters with groups of neighbors. When her parents sent her to live with her aunt on a farm in Lancashire for her safety, she said it was idyllic.

She met my dad, stationed by the USAF in England, in 1956 when she was 18 years old and married him at 20 in spring of 1957. They moved to Texas shortly thereafter and she had me at 22 in Austin. By 1963, she was divorced, attending UT in Austin, working full time, dating, finding her political compass. When asked by a boss in the 90’s if she was liberal, she said “No. Keep moving, farther left.”

Because of my mom, I grew up often raising myself. I became an adult quickly, and while it might seem sad, or as if my childhood was lacking, I’ve found that the hard-wired skill of taking care of myself without expectation of someone else doing it for me has been an asset in this world. I have looked out for my mom financially for about 20 years now, because she didn’t really plan for an old age that was unimaginable to a beautiful, intelligent and adventure seeking young woman. Although I sometimes resented this arrangement, I must concede that the success and achievements that allowed me to care for her were as much a result of her support and encouragement as they were due to my own talent, luck, and perseverance.

She hated how much she was dependent on me for financial help. She loved how dependent she was on Audrey, her granddaughter, for lessons on her much-hated iPhone. Being Audrey’s Grandma Margaret was her greatest joy and she took relentless interest in every aspect of Audrey’s life. Audrey’s kindness and compassion to my mom taught me how to be softer and gentler with her as well. We included her in our life at every opportunity and my mom looked forward to each visit and occasion with great excitement.

My mom yearned to be creative, but never seemed to give any creative impulse the time and attention to fully execute what she longed to make. She wanted to write, and was known for her emails to friends, all of whom would remark about the wit, articulation and acute personality that infused each missive. I look forward to going through her files and papers and finding what she wrote. Even though I’ve known her my entire life, I long to know her better and now it’s too late.

I revealed so much about her in my memoir, all with her permission and blessing. I tried to be honest, but also fair. It was a gift from her, to take the heat and let me tell my story. That gift gave me a chance to process and appreciate all the ways she did me right. I always knew I was loved, I never doubted that, ever. She instilled in me that I was smart, over and over, and made me value my intellect over anything else, like appearances. Another incredible gift, one that has made aging easier.

She was proud of me. She came to every show I played in Austin, often by herself, just showing up and letting the doorman know that her daughter was playing. She would be given a table, and by the time I was done with my set, she had usually made new friends.

My mom was fiercely independent. Up until she was actively dying, she insisted she was fine and that I should take her home.

My mom was brave. She was unlucky in health, turns out that as well as getting a slow growing meningioma brain tumor that went unchecked for possibly 15 years, she also had acquired AIH, a disease that attacks the liver. She survived the massive brain tumor after a major surgery but succumbed to AIH after 20 days of up and down confusion and wandering through the medical jungle as we tried to figure out what was going on. It was my gift to her to be her advocate when she needed one and I learned I am a great advocate. Her diagnosis came the day before she passed. Had it been caught earlier, she might have gotten treatment that gave her a bit more living, but I suppose it was her time.

There is so much more I could write about her, and I will in time. I welcome any memories from people that knew her, as they will help me know her more, in different perspectives. Right now I am reeling with so many feelings: relief, grief, remorse and regret, gratitude and profound sadness. I am proud to be her daughter and so happy that my life, and Audrey’s life, gave her joy and happiness.

I love you mom.

Showing 88 comments
  • Tony

    Love and Blessings to you, Audrey and your Mam’s family and friends X

  • Lynn Ross

    So very sorry for the loss of your Mum.

  • Stephen

    So sorry for your loss. She seemed like a wonderful and extraordinary woman.

  • carlacantone

    That was very moving. I’m so sorry you lost her too soon.

  • Bea

    My absolute deepest sympathy to you, Audrey and your Mom’s numerous friends. A very large hug from the universe.

  • Janet Brooks

    Sorry for the loss of your mom Kathy. Prayers sent to you and your family as you continue your life’s journey without her.

  • Charles Robert Wheeler

    My condolences Kathy. Blessings to you and Audrey. From a fan since 1981.

  • David Jenkins

    Beautiful eulogy.

  • Lori Smyth

    I am so sorry for your loss. Xoxo

  • Jared

    My condolences to you and Audrey.

  • Ed

    Beautiful tribute, in its honesty and it’s love.

  • Gary Michael

    Kathy, I believe it was a respectful, beautiful tribute. Wish I could have met her. She sounds amazing, and as if we walked similar paths. Bless y’all

  • Jeff Shaw

    Amazing tribute!

  • Robert Shanahan

    Hi Kathy and Audrey,

    I am so sorry for your loss. You have a lifetime of wonderful memories that will support you in times of grief and sadness and those same memories will bring you laughter, joy, and happiness for the rest of your lives.
    Know that you are loved and during this difficult time I hope that brings you some comfort.
    My thoughts are with you,

    Robert Shanahan

  • Nancy Dunivin

    It is so difficult to lose our Moms. Be kind to yourself in the days to come; wrap yourself in her memory. May you find peace and May her Memory Be Eternal.

  • Karen Pagenkopf Teig

    This helped me when I lost someone close. Not every line may help you, but I hope some of it gives you some comfort.


    “Hi. It’s me. I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know I’m okay. The strangest part about my passing is I don’t feel gone from you. I do hear you talk to me, and most of the time I’m just trying to get you to feel my presence. I also smile when you keep asking me for signs that you set up-I promise they will come when you least expect it. I really do try. Please stop saying you can’t feel me. When I see you laugh, it vibrates through my being and I smile too. Feelings like guilt, anger, regret, and immense sadness sometimes builds a barrier between us. Everyone grieves differently however, my hope is that the signs I send help take the edge off, even for a quick moment. I would love for you to try harder to let go of those heavy layers that put the weight of the world on your shoulders. I might actually be able to come to you more easily. Finding the balance between “feeling it to heal it” and being stuck in it is a fine line. I honor how you grieve.

    No, you couldn’t have saved me. No, you shouldn’t have done more. Yes, you made the right decision. I realize now that this earthly experience is all about finding our way back to love. All the rest is just part of the tough journey we call, “Life.” Thank you for letting me be your teacher. Until we meet again, promise me that you will love with all your heart, forgive in ways you thought not possible, release anger that no longer serves you, and slide into home plate saying, “I did it! I lived for you. I honor your memory by finding joy again.” Love always, Me.”

  • V. Marc Fort

    “Keep moving, farther left.” I’ll be quoting her and you from now on with that line.

    What a beautiful legacy she leaves behind.

    Peace & eventual solace to you and all who loved her.

  • Keith Nepper

    My heart goes out to you for your loss. I appreciate you sharing what you do eloquently wrote.❤️🙏

  • Jody Bonura

    So well written, Kathy. I had tears in my eyes by the end. Thank you for sharing this during difficult time. Thinking of you and your daughter during this difficult time.

  • james j heron

    beautiful. made me think about my own situation… God take care off your mom.! james!

  • Steve Wilson

    So very sorry for your loss and prayers for your comfort. I lost my mom at age 25. We were two entirely different people with a very complex relationship. That made the grieving process that more difficult. I’m still processing at 51 in some ways but have learned that acceptance goes a long way..

  • Barbe Mariotti

    What a huge loss! What a wonderful tribute to her.

  • Charyl coleman

    What an incredibly beautifully written tribute to your mother. Life and relationships are sometimes complicated. Your story will be felt deeply by so many of us that find threads of commonality in your kind gift of honesty. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    I only know you through my husband Ned from Starbucks but he has often spoken of you with genuine appreciation. I will be holding you in the light ( as Quaker’s say)

  • Joelle

    Beautiful tribute to your mom. You will find things she wrote that will make your heart happy. Seek and you shall find KV! Prayers of comfort and healing for you and Audrey.

  • Jeff Donaldson

    Beautifully written Kathy. ❤️

  • Cam Villar

    Beautifully written. You did good.

  • Kristin Stuart Smith

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Kathy. I met your Mom once back when I was staying in the Studio City house and we were working on some music together. It was a long time ago but I remember she had a vibrant kindness. I’m so glad you got the chance to spend many more years with each other. As always, your words tell a story so well. Much love and prayers for peace and comfort to you and your family.

  • Rob Pinet

    Wow. That was beautiful. Hugs to you and Audrey.

    Godspeed, Grandma Margaret

  • Michael Dick

    That is a beautiful remembrance of your dear mom. I’m so sorry to hear of her passing. She was lucky to have a wonderful daughter like you. And your life has been deeply impacted and formed by her. Bless your heart Kathy.

  • Anna Armstrong

    Sending so much love ❤️

  • John Bishop

    That was very touching and beautiful. I am sorry for your loss and wish you peace.

  • Mr. shane harkin

    It looks like you are off to a very good start on being able to deal with grief and continue living.

  • Carla

    My sincere condolences to you on your loss Kathy.

  • Scott (Dallas, Texas)

    What a beautiful, honest, heartfelt tribute to your mother and an open look into your life growing up Margaret’s daughter. Thank you for sharing a piece of you, and more importantly, a piece of her, with us.
    Bless you, your Mom and Audrey

  • Jim Consalvo

    What a wonderful tribute to your mom. They say that you can judge the job a parent did by looking at the children when they are grown. Its obvious your mom did a great job. You were lucky to have her and she was lucky to have you. May she Rest In Peace.

  • Alice de Buhr

    This is beautifully written and tells your heart’s truth so well. I am incredibly sorry for your loss, and yet filled with the joy you knew as your mother.
    Thank you for sharing this with us,

  • Chico Rey

    Love you..So beautiful. What a woman,n your incredible. Xoxo

  • Eric Chanin

    Dear Kathy and Audrey. I’m truly sorry for your loss. May Margaret sleep well. May she soar through the heavens and watch over the two of you. 🌹🙏💙😞

  • Ted Thompson

    Kathy, I’m so sorry for your loss. I enjoyed meeting your mom on several occasions at your shows. She was a very lovely person. I now regret not saying hello to her at your recent book event in Austin.

    What a blessing that moving back to Austin gave you the chance to be with her the last decade + and, among other things, made it possible for her to have that “greatest joy” of being Audrey’s grandmother.

    I have no doubt that you were the best possible advocate for your mom. You did good, kiddo. Lots of love sent your way. ❤️

    Ted Thompson

  • jayman2017

    A lovely tribute and so sorry for your loss

  • Mikey

    Such a beautiful remembrance of your mom. God bless her and your family

  • Scott LaRock

    Sorry for your loss. A treasure and great tribute in my eyes

  • Pam Huber Magney

    sorry for your loss but happy for your memories.

  • Mike koicuba

    Wow wonderful heartfelt but factual , it was nice to read this , you sound like a wonderful daughter . Thanks for sharing . Your fan mike koicuba

  • Nelson

    Oh Kathy, I’m so sad to hear this. My heart goes out to you and to Audrey. May you find peace in the memories of your mom during the coming days.

  • Gaby Santos

    So sad for your loss. My Dad passed away in 2020, he was my last living parent and the complete emptiness that it leaves you with, no matter how close you were is a feeling that fills your mind, heart and thoughts for a very long time.
    Hope you are doing what works best for you to process this, and make peace with this loss.
    My thoughts to you and your family. ❣️

  • Peggy O’Hare

    Such beautiful words about a remarkable person and a devastating loss. Your writing always hits me right in the heart.

  • Stacey

    So sorry. I loved the way you twinkled a little when you talked about her. Y’all obviously had a very special relationship.

  • TommyG

    That’s a beautiful tribute, Kathy. My condolences to you, your family and all who knew the pleasure of her company. I do want to read your memoir now.

  • George Proicou

    Beautifully written, and a testament to your mother’s life. May her memory be eternal.

  • Bob Politi

    I’m so sorry about your mom. I’m sure there are so many emotions that you are dealing with. Thank you for sharing this post. I really admire you taking the time to share your thoughts and emotions. You are one of a kind and your mom had so much to do with that. She will always be with you and in you.

  • John Tuttle

    Your mama’s best creative gift was you, so I guess that turned out pretty good. I will pray for comfort for you tonight.

  • Kathryn Walkowicz


  • Chris ONeal

    While there is not much others can say, it sounds like you’ve already reconciled all the various aspects to the best degree possible – I think even that is a “blessing.” I genuinely felt nearly every sentiment here, as we had quite similar upbringings and mom relationships. I wish you peace and tranquility as you navigate this phase. All the best Kathy! ~Chris ONeal

  • Sheri Davidson

    Sending you hugs and comforting thoughts during this time. Such loving words and gratitude for your Mom.

  • Peggy OHare

    Such beautiful words about a remarkable woman and a devastating loss. Your writing always hits me right in the heart.

  • Tom

    My deepest condolences Kathy. You all are in my prayers.

  • David Montalbano

    My condolences 🙏🙏🙏 my thoughts and prayers are with you right now

  • Rick V

    This is very beautiful. Thank you for this.

  • Kay Scott

    Beautiful, honest , and insightful!

  • Denise Fitzgerald

    I’m so very sorry for your loss, Kathy…. My heart hurts for you. This message was so very beautiful and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing this and giving those of us who support you a glimpse into the life of your Mom. May time heal the pain you’re feeling and the memories keep you strong and bring you comfort ❤️

  • Jeffrey

    Your Mom seemed like a special lady. My best to you and your family


    Proving All you need is love – love of Life. Your Mother certainly had that. RIP

  • Jon Angle

    Beautiful writing about the very complex relationships between parent and child. Sending condolences and ❤️

  • Frank

    My sincere condolences. I lost my mom a few years back. Our relationship wasn’t nearly as close and wonderful as yours was. I wish you peace and fond memories forever.

  • Marty Shumaker

    Love and Light sent to You and Audrey. It’s so hard losing ones Mom. You wrote a Beautiful tribute to her. Thank goodness for memories and that she will always be carried in the ❤️

  • Scott T.

    What a beautiful tribute to an obviously beautiful spirit. We are not all put here to be great artists or writers. Sometimes our role is to create that path for others. Sounds like your mom really helped shape the talented and responsible person you are today. What a blessing she was in your life and Audrey’s. I hope you can take some comfort in that and each other! I’m sad today for the loss of someone I never knew but also happy she is not suffering any longer. God bless you, KV. Virtual hugs from down the road in Houston. —Scott T.

  • Kim Millett

    Sincere condolences on the loss of your mom. Thank you for your thoughtful words. Sending you hugs and hopes that happy memories prevail

  • Sherri

    My heartfelt sympathies and Blessings to you and your family. 🙏❤️

  • Julian McSweeney

    Dear Kathy, I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of your mum. What you’ve written is so full of love, compassion and understanding. I can’t imagine the pain you’re feeling right now, but I hope you found comfort in writing about her. I truly fear losing my mum, though I know the time will come sooner rather than later, as she’s now in her mid-80s. Having lost my dad at the age of eleven, my mum has been my rock throughout my life, always there for me, no matter what. I often think about how I will cope with her death. I have two younger brothers, who both have families of their own, and I know we’ll be there for each other when we finally lose her, which is at least one crumb of comfort that alleviates my fear. Like your mum, mine was also evacuated during the war. She’d come from a very wealthy upper class family who had links to the nobility and royalty, though moved to London as soon as she left school and became an usherette at a theatre in Soho, where she met my dad, who came from the opposite end of the social spectrum. She was very creative, though subordinated those instincts to become a mother. She and my dad were part of the jazz scene, and had many musician friends – I recall a photo of her sitting on the end of a bed with Jane Asher and a bearded Paul McCartney, and being surrounded by famous people when I was a child – we were sitting in her car once, when the Matt Bianco’s cover of Georgie Fame’s ‘Yeah Yeah’ came on the radio, and she said “That’s not Clive.” (Georgie Fame’s real name). When I asked her how she knew she replied “I was in the studio when he recorded it.” She’s always full of surprises, though never dwells on the past, and seldom talks about it. Like your mum, mine always seems to live in the moment. She has worked hard all her life and just gets on with things and I know her passing will leave a huge void in my life. So I hope you’ll find some consolation in realising how much you’ve achieved and how much you mean to so many people around the world, who value your talent and contribution and hold you in such high esteem. With much love from the UK.

  • Joseph Telep

    💔 I am sorry, Kathy. This was beautifully written. You’re in my thoughts.

  • Melissa Dragich

    Sending you love and hugs as you maneuver through this next stage of life. Here for you KV! ❤️

  • Sandra Hamilton

    I was lucky to have Margaret as a close friend for many years. She was a good friend, kind and thoughtful. She was always so proud of Kathy, from the time she was a little girl. I miss her already. Sandra Hamilton, Austin

  • April Whitney

    Kathy, I am so deeply sorry for your loss and I so deeply relate to your not always easy relationship with your mom

  • BP Fallon

    My dear Kathy, beautiful sensitive words about your mother. I send you my deepest condolences. You are blessed to have Margaret as your mother and she was blessed to have your as her daughter. God bless Margaret Valentine. RIP.
    – BP

  • Larissa

    Sending you all my love and grace. I don’t know you but feel we are bonded by the fact that I too lost my amazing mom very suddenly two years ago. ❤️ I will carry a piece of you and thanks to this beautiful piece about your mom, Margaret, in my heart.

  • David A

    What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing your life with your Mom in your memoir- you had many adventures. I remember when your Dad was I’ll, I told you to find out all the stories you wanted to know while you could. There are so many things I’d like to ask my Mom but it’s too late. Sending you peace and comfort.

  • Tracy

    We send all our love to you and Audrey. -Tracy, Sasha and Eliza.

  • Lanie Fire

    I’m so sorry Kathy. Its inspiring to see how much love and forgiveness you have for your mom and to see all the effort you put into getting to know and understand her better. Your strength in selflessly caring for her – especially towards the end is awe inspiring. Sending you condolences, love and light to you and your family during this difficult time.

  • erin houser

    It’s the best feeling in the world to be someone’s favorite person – and you and your daughter are undeniably your Mother’s favorite persons. Please accept my sincerest condolences.

  • Barry Baragiano

    So sorry miss harry My name is Barry and I am a huge fan of yours have been for many many years met you two times happy birthday to you I’d love to be able to communicate with you

  • Danny Chapman

    Sorry for your loss. We will be praying for you and your family for comfort and peace. Blessings

  • Angie Koury

    Kathy, I am so sorry that you and Ashley are going through the loss of your precious mama. I will keep your mama, you & your Ashley in my heart, thoughts and prayers as your relationship with your mama sounds similar to the relationship I shared with my own. If you ever need anything, feel free to message me on FB, as I would be glad to “listen and help” you through your grief.
    Love, hugs and blessings sent to your mama, you & Audrey.

  • Suzy

    Though you and I have never met, we have mutual ATX friends. Like you, I was reared by a single mom who forced me into early independence and who constantly told me I was smart. She died just six weeks before your mom. My heart is with you during this awful time of loss, pain, grief, and (perhaps) confusion.

  • O Daniels

    My deepest condolences to you and your family. I must say I was heart broken when I heard the news. I enjoyed taking care of your mom, she and I had several laughs together especially with her iPhone. She was such a bright light even though she wasn’t feeling well. She spoke fondly of you and her granddaughter. I pray that you and your daughter have comfort and peace.

  • Dominique

    I first met Margaret when Kathy and I started The BlueBonnets . It was in the early 90s when we were living and playing shows in LA . Kathy said we should play Austin where her mom lived. I remember our very first gig and visit to Austin .We drove up to Margaret’s apartment where we were first greeted by her fat furry cat ..Kathy and I became close friends pretty fast so I thought it might be cute if I reached out to shake Margaret’s hand and say “Hi Mom”She quickly hammered out with a stern and annoyed voice and said “Don’t call me Mom ” Haha . She was a confident sassy unafraid woman with a funny and sarcastic sense of humor. Over the 30 years I’ve known her we have had many super fun lunches brunches and late night club hangs. If Kathy was around she was there. I’ve never met a mother so intensely proud of her daughter…. She literally came to every BlueBonnet show when we played Austin. I will always think of Margaret with her beautiful mischievous smile and her perfectly styled golden blond hair . I don’t know how The Bluebonnets will be able to play a show without her there.

  • Candace Kash

    That was a lovely tribute. I am glad she was my friend. I am saddened that she has gone. I will miss her. My thoughts are with you and Audrey.

  • Joanna

    Your mom was a character. I just checked my calendar and we last had lunch together on the 25th of May. She seemed a little wobbly on her feet that day but was in great spirits and could not stop talking about Audrey. She loved you both so fiercely. I will miss her. Hugs to you and Audrey. 💔❤️

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