For mum.

2 11 2013

Just for posterity, I thought I’d put this here. It’s what I wrote and read out at mum’s funeral last week…

The day mum passed away, I told her that she was the best mum I could have possibly had. She looked at me, smiled, and said ‘I know’.

The thing is, mum once told me, in all seriousness, that she just wasn’t a maternal person. I asked what she meant, and she replied, ‘Well, we only had you to see what you would look like’. ‘And what did you think?’ I asked. ‘Well. You have my ankles’.

So mum didn’t think she was maternal, but I have stacks of evidence to dispute that. She was adored not only by me, but by all of my cousins, who she looked after when they were little, and who she fastidiously kept in touch with as they grew up, even getting to know their partners and remembering birthdays of their children.

Even my friends think of her fondly as a woman who was funny, warm and friendly- she always knew exactly how to make someone feel at ease and welcome in our house, and unlike most teenagers, I was never ever embarrassed of my parents. In fact, I’m sure some of my school friends only visited our house so they could catch up with my mum and dad.

I often watched her interact with the staff and customers in the Hadrian, and I marvelled at how easily she could talk to anyone. A lifetime in hospitality meant she was the most hospitable person I knew. Her and dad were a formidable team, and I hope to inherit those skills that came so naturally to my parents.

Now, I do have evidence to prove that mum wasn’t always a paragon of parenthood. There was one Christmas when I came home to receive a home-made chocolate advent calendar from mum. I looked inside and realised she’d totally forgotten my nut allergy, and most of the days would easily send me into an anaphylactic shock.

There was also a time when that famous ease of conversation failed her entirely, and as she was trying to entertain some elderly relatives, she saw birds in the garden. ‘Oh!’ She exclaimed. ‘Look at those two little tits on the lawn!’

Dad and I regularly reminded her of that.

Some of you may know that earlier this year I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I was never scared- I knew my mum and dad would be there for me because the love they had for each other, and the love they had for me, is truly inspirational. You’re only as strong as the people around you, and in that respect I knew I was in safe hands. Of course, they got me through it with their trademark cheer, and even if mum was scared she made sure that all I ever saw was her positivity and love. One of the last things she told me was how she would be thinking of me for the next day, when I was due to have my final check-ups.

That was typical of mum. There she was, so unwell, and all she was fretting about was me being ok and not worrying about anything. As long as I was fine, all was right with the world.

Of course it wasn’t, and now we have to say goodbye to my mum.

I looked through some pictures of mum this week, and what struck me most was what a brilliant life she’d had- always smiling and full of fun, friends and family. I’m so proud that she was part of my life and that I was part of hers, and I take a lot of comfort in knowing that when she was here, she made the most of it.

I will think of mum as someone who loved people, who reminded me that sometimes I was very silly indeed and should just do whatever I wanted, no matter how worried about it I was, and of someone who showed me what it is like to love unconditionally.

So, mum. If you consider yourself to not be maternal, then I have no idea what more you could have expected of yourself. Because I know that if I grow up to be half the mother that you were, I shall be very grateful indeed.

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One response

1 12 2013
stinglikeabeevan

Awww Bex that’s beautiful, made me cry. I wish I’d had the chance to meet her. I hope you and your sad, and the rest of the family are doing ok x

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