Nigella Lawson feels guilty about outliving her mother.
The television chef is soon turning 60 but admits her hardest birthday was her 49th, as her mother tragically passed at the age of 48.
She shared: "I am going to be 60 on my birthday. When I say it, it sounds strange enough, but when I see it written down, I find it very odd indeed. I think one's ideas about what ages look like take shape in one's childhood, so when I say or write 60, I see in my head a little old lady with a grey bun. It's disconcerting. Of course, that's not what 60 looks like, or feels like, these days, but even if it isn't properly old, it is undeniably well beyond middle age; I am not expecting to make it to 120 ... That in itself doesn't worry me. I don't pretend to be youthful. And when you have seen people you love die young, the idea of complaining about getting older is just revolting. My mother died at 48, one of my sisters at 32, and my first husband at 47; it is a curious thing to be so significantly outstripping them in years. In truth, the hardest birthday I have ever gone through was my 49th. This is something anyone who becomes an age older than they remember a same-sex parent will know. By comparison, my 50th was a doddle."
And Nigella did celebrate her 50th birthday as she was just happy to no longer be 49 as she felt like a "traitor" to her late mother.
She added to The Sunday Times' Style magazine: "I think I was rather relieved no longer to be 49, that year that made me a traitor to my mother. But I also think there will always be a sense, for me, of pretending to be whatever age my birthday is celebrating. If I see, in anything I read, a woman's age listed as 48, I think 'that's my mother's age'; how can a daughter be older than her mother?"