We all know grief. But what can we learn from others about it? Allegra Spender is contesting the seat of Wentworth in the next Australian Federal Election, due to be held soon, most likely in May 2022. My interview with Allegra, about her decision to run, was published in the Daily Telegraph on February 15 and Wentworth Courier on February 16, 2022. Allegra suffered a heartbreaking loss, less than a year ago, in April 2021, when her mother, Carla Zampatti, died after a fall at Sydney’s outdoor opera. We discussed this in the interview and then I asked “What has grief taught you”. This is Allegra’s touching answer.
What has grief taught you?
“That question immediately makes me think of my Mum, Carla Zampatti. I’m very grateful that she’s the only person that I’ve been very, very close to that I’ve lost.”
“So grief over her loss has taught me many things – and the main one is to have courage.
“Because reflecting back on my beautiful Mum, she was very courageous and very strong.
“She loved to support women. I remember, someone sent me a message after Mum died and it was one of the most beautiful things, and I could see it was entirely true, because it reflected the sort of person that Mum was.
“In that message the woman told me she once went to see Mum, hoping for a little bit of support. She was a stranger to her but Mum had coffee with her and introduced her to the person who went on to become her mentor. And that led to the woman going on to become a chief executive.
“Mum was passionate about women and migrants succeeding and she used to tell us, her children, that you can get through hard times, you just have to be strong. And she was incredibly strong.
“Mum wasn’t stopped by the things that scared her and she believe that you should stand up for what you believe in.
“And that’s one of the reasons I’m standing for parliament, in the Seat of Wentworth now.
“Her untimely death, after a night out at the Opera, reinforced that comment that we’ve all heard so often before. That is, you need to say all the things you want to say to those you love, without hesitating, when they’re alive.
“You need to say things while you can because you never know what’s around the corner.”
Here is a screenshot of ‘Blue Blood, Green Cred’, in which Allegra Spender discusses politics and reflects on her mother, Carla Zampatti.
Here are other articles in the Good Grief series “What has grief taught you?”
And John Brogden shares what it’s like to have a grief without a loss.