Christmas is almost upon us, a time of celebration, reflection, togetherness and for the very lucky, family. This year will be our first without Mum and I know there are lots of people out there spending firsts, seconds, thirds and more without people that they love. And I know how hard that is.
Today, I want to share some of my memories about my Mum because I love her, and remembering who she was makes me happy.
So here goes…
Mum was a beautiful, spirited empath, who took you at face value and gave you more than even you knew, just by being herself when she was with you. She could swear like a trooper, worked like a Trojan and was as gentle and kind as she was funny. And she was hilariously funny. An all ’round good human being, Mum loved life and made sure we did too.
When asking myself how many ways my beautiful Mum influenced my life, “In every way,” will always be the short answer. The long one will take a while, so now might be a good time to boil the jug for a cuppa, pour a glass of wine or grab a beer, as this is unlikely to be a short post.
I first met my beautiful Mum on a coolish autumn Saturday, on May 22, it was 1965. Of course, I don’t remember this day, but she told me often how she would never forget it. One of my first, clearest and earliest memories though, was of snuggling in her bed when I was not much more than three years old, and her singing to me. Mum sang to my sisters and me often when we were young.
The two songs I remember the best are:
The Umbrella Man…
Any um-ber-rellas, any um-ber-rellas to mend today?
Where you going to go e oh
What you going to do e oh
Does your mommy know
That you’re going down the road
To see a little girly oh
These songs and many others at the time were sung to us with love, and always in the sweetest voice — and were sung often. I thought Mum was the best singer in the world and loved it when she sang. Although her love of singing country songs when I was a teenager wasn’t as appreciated back then. What I would do to hear her belting out her favourites again.
I also remember, in my early primary school days, staying home with her if I wasn’t well and cuddling up on the lounge to watch a movie or Days of our Lives. Being with us, as in being present, came easy to her when we were little and needed her. Everything else could wait. So it’s no surprise that I have always turned to movies or soaps (yes I admit it…soaps) when I need a little extra comfort or to escape from the world.
A young mum, ours was vibrant and energetic. Mum was not body conscious and I don’t think I ever heard her criticise herself. This in itself was probably one of the most important things she did to instill confidence and self-worth into her three daughters. And she never criticised my sisters or me either. That’s not to say she agreed with everything we said and did, nor did she mind saying so if she had to, but she didn’t criticise us and always encouraged us to think for ourselves.
With most things, she was before her time, not deliberately, just matter of factly.
A girl can do anything… Of course, she can, why would we think otherwise.
Love is love… Absolutely!
We are all equal… Why would anyone even question that?
These things were never really discussed in our house, they didn’t have to be, we just knew them to be true. We weren’t taught tolerance. We were shown how to be tolerant. Mum and Dad brought us up to treat others the way we would like to be treated. No exceptions.
We were shown through their actions and example how to be in the world, not through preaching, and that made life’s rules pretty easy to follow. Was life perfect? No, is it ever? Did we sometimes learn what to do, by seeing what not to do? Yes! But we were also shown that mistakes will be made and you can get passed them by owning them. In all things, ultimately, we were shown that love is the answer.
We were never overwhelmed by expectations growing up, but what our parents did expect of us, was honesty and kindness. They knew those two things would point us in the right direction throughout life. We were encouraged to be independent, but always knew we had a home to come back too. We were never judged by our mistakes but supported through them. And if we saw something in the friends and partners we brought home, even if Mum and Dad didn’t see the same things, they trusted the good we saw in others and embraced those we cared about and loved them without question.
Mum had an easy way of being and talking to us but also expected us to listen and behave ourselves when we were told to. She rarely had to raise her voice and could get her point across with a single look, without a word spoken. She was not a pushover. If those eyes flashed from green to yellow, you knew you had pushed the envelope too far and were in big trouble. I don’t think either of my sisters or I saw yellow often though.
Our Mum was highly evolved spiritually and instilled a strong belief system into me from an early age, and probably my sisters too. When I was little I remember her talking to me about God, and how he would always watch over me. I believed that to be true then and still do. Mum taught me I didn’t have to sit in anyone’s house to be close to God, because he would always be in my house, whether I knew it or not.
This strong belief in something greater than myself has been confirmed to be my truth and savior many times throughout my life and has been the strength guiding me through the most difficult times I have faced too date, including the loss of both my husband and Mum to cancer.
For someone denied the opportunity to go to high school and learn among her peers Mum was one of the smartest people I knew, and also one of the most sociable. She could strike up a conversation with anyone, be engaging, funny and interesting and leave them wanting more. She had a smile that could light up a room and a heart as big as a house, we were so lucky she was ours.
As a mum, she was a true mum. She had no illusions of being our friend, she had plenty of those and knew we did too. Her role was far more important to her than that. She was our Mother, our springboard into life, our anchor, our compass and our harbour in stormy weather – all cliches, yes, but cliches that couldn’t be truer. We could talk to her about anything. She was our heart and home and always will be.
As far as I am concerned, and I am sure my sisters too … not only is it because of her we are, it is because of her we are who we are. And for that, I will be forever grateful to you Mum. You were a hell of a woman, a loyal friend, a good wife, and a wonderful Mum.
On the day she left us I had the opportunity to apologise for not always being a good daughter and to let her know how loved she was and how I thought she was the best Mum in the world. She knew me better than I know myself and tried to smile, I know she heard me.
Mum left us hearing our Dad Brian, my two Sisters Sue & Deb and Sues husband Michael telling her we loved her, over and over. She had seen all of her Grandchildren and Andy had face-timed her from England. She wasn’t alone for a minute.
God’s blessing to the world, you are now our beautiful shining star in the Milk way Mum, guiding us through life from above. We miss you and think about you every day.
I know you are with Bren now in the magical place all good people go when they leave this earth. Please give him lots of hugs from the kids and me, often.
Enjoy flying with the angels Mumma, until we all see each other again.
We love and miss you…
this one’s for you xx