Ashley Page manages major musical talent. At age 43, he reflects on some big changes he made in the year 2008.

In late 2008 I decided to leave Warner Music and go out into the great wide world and set up my own management company.

But a few weeks after I resigned I got a call from my mother in the UK, saying, "I only have 10 weeks left to live." She had brain cancer. My wife Tracey was away for work, so I was home alone when I received the call, which was obviously a huge shock.

I decided then and there I'd go straight back and have the following 10 weeks with my mother, spending every minute together, learning everything and having every conversation and no regrets.


She'd had a brain operation by the time I got there. So she was in the hospital and I was staying at her house in Tavistock, Devon, visiting her during the day then coming home at night to do temporary work from New Zealand that paid enough to keep me going, because I had no job.

Warner Music were kind enough to hire me to project-manage some albums: doing things like studio bookings, timelines and budgets. I worked from 8 or 9 at night till 3am, got a couple of hours' sleep and then went back to the palliative care ward to spend the day with Mum.

Tracey and my sister in Sydney came over quite early on but for most of the time I was living alone in my mother's house. The unfortunate part is that, as often happens, it got to the point where it felt like she was just hanging on, so I decided to come home for Christmas and go back when there was some news.

It was also my wife's and my 10th anniversary together, which we were celebrating in Auckland. And that morning I got a call from an undertaker saying: "I have your mother's body." And I said: "So my mother's died then?" and I was on a plane to the UK that afternoon.

There was something about the timing of everything. She did die 10 weeks to the day after she told me she had 10 weeks to live. And now we're approaching the 10th anniversary of her passing and 20 of Tracey and I being together, all on the same day.

The time I spent with her did what I wanted it to do. I got to tell her I was setting up a new company, which she wouldn't have known. And she told me it would be a great success, which I felt very emotional about.

Unfortunately, I had to watch Mamma Mia on DVD at least 25 times, despite having sworn I would never watch it once. In palliative care rooms, there's nothing, so I brought in a DVD player and that movie was the only DVD we had. Every time we put it on Mum would fall asleep and I'd be left watching it. Then she would wake up and ask to watch it again, so I had to.

I was in a strange routine of clearing out her house while she was saying, "I can't wait to come home." Yet I knew she wasn't coming home. It makes you realise how short life is, how petty a lot of arguments are and what really matters.

I wouldn't change a moment of it. I couldn't have not done it.

-As told to Paul Little