Mother’s Day is almost over here in Canada and I find myself, this evening sitting here, reflecting on the lessons my mother taught me.
I look back on my childhood and think of the magical moments we shared; of Mum waking me at dawn on May Day to wash my face in the dew; of her standing behind me as we waved my brother off to work in the shipyards, the windows rattling in the wind, the rain pouring down; of her driving me down to the baker’s on Dumbarton Road to get rolls for breakfast; of standing on her toes as she danced me around the kitchen floor; of standing by the window on a Scottish island and gazing out at the full moon; of watching the deer gathering on the hills at dusk.
My mother taught me about the magic in life.
She also taught me about the hard, cold realities.
Mum was widowed at sixty-three, and lived twenty-two years more on her own before she died. Neither of us realised it at the time, but in those twenty-two years, she taught me how to survive the years after my husband abandoned me.
You get on with things. Yes, you cry and rage and grieve, but you get up and get on with things. You carve out a life for yourself that is yours.
Mum, you were and are the strongest woman I ever met. You lived through World War Two, bringing up a child, my brother, never knowing if Dad would make it home alive. And you did it. You thrived. You were the heart and soul of our family. Dad might have provided the home and support and money in our lives, but you gave us the support and love. It was you who made sure our clothes were warm when we ventured out on those cold frosty mornings to school. It was you who provided those ‘picnic’ lunches that I loved so much.
It was you who, after Dad died, walked that beach, sobbing your heart out, but found that inner strength to survive.
It was you who, at seventy-six – yes, seventy six! – years of age applied for your first job in more than fifty years – and got it, driving a jag around London. (And got two proposals of marriage in the process – which you turned down.)
Oh Mum, you were amazing. You didn’t think you were… but you were. You are – and always will be – the heroine, and inspiration, of my life.
I love – and miss you – Mum. Every day of my life.