The day after I published my previous blog post I received an early morning phone call to tell me that my Mum had died that morning in her sleep. Although she had been getting more frail over the last few years, her death was still totally unexpected.
In a Covid-19 dominated time, we were able to hold a small thanksgiving service by the grave with close family members a month later. This was a good opportunity to thank God for our Mum’s life and to share some of all that she has meant to us as a family. Yet there were only a few people present and I felt that I wanted to speak to the whole world about all that I have to thank Mum for. While this blog is not seen by many, it at least gives me an opportunity to say something to a wider world.
Yet how can you begin to sum up a lifetime of love and self sacrifice?
I could share some stories.
Such as how she drove me many times during my teenage years to play table tennis for the ‘RAF Stafford’ club and then picked me up afterwards (often followed by a trip to a local chippy on the way home – I was a hungry teenager particularly after some exercise!) We played our home matches on the RAF base, so picking me up meant waiting in the car in a lonely layby just outside. Waiting – often for some time – for me to come out, usually in the dark. Only looking back do I realize how unpleasant an experience that probably was, yet she did it so many weeks without complaining. Just one example of the many many hours given for me or my siblings in love.
Or I could speak of the hours spent in the kitchen cooking delicious meals whenever we went to visit. There was always plenty to enjoy, usually with a home made cake as well! I would often say before visiting just give us a bite to eat, we won’t need much – yet there would still be a feast laid out.
I could also talk about the many ways she served others, particularly in church, but also in the local community. Playing the organ or piano, running groups for toddlers, helping at children’s holiday clubs, visiting people who needed a visit, providing lifts for those who needed it, cooking for the ‘meal a month’ for other older folk, serving on the committee of the residential complex where she lived for her last few months of life. I could list many more.
Or I could reminisce about family holidays, games played together, Christmas and birthday celebrations. And many of the other significant events of life which Mum shared in. She ensured that her home was usually a place of rest, a place to relax, sit back and chat. Then there were the regular phone calls throughout my adult life, with Mum someone I could always talk to and share the mundane, as well as the highs and lows of life.
But even if I said much more about all these things – and more – it would still just tell a part of Mum’s life and all that she meant to me and the rest of the family.
Above everything, however, what stands out is that her love for me and all her family was always so strong and clear, evident in what was said and what was done, her life was full of generosity to me (and so many others too). She was always there. And she provided a great example – of faith in her God, and of service and love to others – for me to look to and follow. For sure, Mum wasn’t perfect – no one is. But I don’t think I could have asked for a better Mum and am so thankful to God for her. I will miss her.