Monday, 12 August 2013

It was mum's thanksgiving yesterday - The church was packed and it was a very special occasion. People had come from all over the country including our lovely Irish relatives who had made the trip especially. I gave the tribute to Mum and this is how it went - 

My mother really was an amazing woman. She came from a farming family and had some true hardships in her life. She was the only survivor from five children - three died before reaching the age of five with various illnesses including meningitis and polio. That left her and her older brother who was the apple of her parents eye. At the age of fourteen she was walking home from school when she saw a crowd gathered in one of her fields and went to investigate - there was the remains of her brother, who had been caught in the combine. Her parents never really recovered from his death and her father died shortly afterwards probably from a broken heart.

Her mother needed someone to help on the farm and her father's brother (her uncle) volunteered. Three years later my mother found him in the bottom meadow with his brains blown out. He had shot himself. It transpired that he had fallen in love with my grandmother who still being grief ridden from the death of most of her family had rejected him which he could not accept…. All those tragedies and yet undeterred Mum worked hard at school and gained a place at university, She was the first in her family to do so and in those days it was unusual for a girl, particularly one from a farming family

She studied Social Sciences at Liverpool. She didn't have a car and would cycle to University from her home in Henllan near Denbigh across the treacherous Horse Shoe Pass - 70 miles of mountainous roads. A determined effort.

Mum then met my father, got married and had rather a tough life being married to a struggling Baptist Minister with four children and a full time job as a medical social worker in Stoke Mandeville overseeing the rehabilitation of quadriplegics. Because of her work I have to say that she wasn’t the most sympathetic of Mum’s and we certainly weren’t mollycoddled. If we ever complained of feeling ill or cried because we had fallen off our bikes we got very short shift. “What’s the matter with you? You’ve still got both arms and both legs?! You’ve got nothing to complain about!!”

When she was in her mid fifties (29 yrs ago) she suffered a brain haemorrhage which then resulted in a stroke. Mum very nearly died and was paralysed on one side and unable to talk, read or write. She had to completely start from scratch with her speech, reading, writing and mobility but she just got on with it in a typically determined and courageous fashion and never complained. She still struggled with her speech right until the end and yet she stoically did what she could to make herself understood and was never fazed by it

In 2005 there was another bombshell. She was diagnosed with bowel cancer. She had all the treatment including a colostomy. Once again she met this latest hurdle with braveness and fortitude. She was always far more interested and concerned about other people's problems than her own. Just when we thought she had beaten the cancer there was yet another setback and macular degeneration caused her to completely lose the sight in one eye and partially in the other. What did Mum do? In typical Mum fashion, With her two arms and two legs (just) and true to her word, she gallantly and cheerfully fought on right up until the day she died when her worn out body finally surrendered. Mum’s life was one battle after another and yet she met every obstacle with a serene and courageous sense of determination. She beat all the odds and kept smiling until the end being an inspiration to us all.

She did it HER way. Inspirational to all.

She was a truly incredible woman and a most importantly a great Mum.