1947 - 2015
1947 - 2015
Growing up, you assume everything you have in life is normal. So for most of my life, I assumed my mother was normal. I now know that the word normal, in no sense of the word, can be applied to my mother. I’ve spent the last 10 or so years pastoring people from all sorts of backgrounds and I’ve learnt the importance of good parents and the impact they have on an individual. My mother wasn't just a good mother, she was an excellent mother.
Of the many qualities I could focus on, I’d like to highlight just three.
My mother was one of the most loving people I’ve ever met. She was loving in a very practical way; she was caring, thoughtful, sensitive, compassionate, inclusive and sacrificial.
Mum had this marvelous ability to put herself in others’ shoes and out of that place extend compassion. Her hematologist had the difficult job of discharging mum from hospital. He explained to her that there was nothing more the medical community could do and that she was going to die. On the car ride home from that meeting, my mother turned to my dad and said, “The poor man, what a difficult job he must have. I mean he did everything he could. We should send him a card.”
For my sisters and I however, the easiest thing to point to when we talk about love was her propensity to hug and kiss us. In fact she was so good at it, in many ways she was the perfect cross between a long lost Italian relative and a golden retriever. Our childhood is a collection of memories filled with kisses, cuddles and hugs. This, matched with the sing-song leftovers of a Welsh accent meant that nobody was safe from collateral blessings. If you got in the mum zone you were a prime target for being hugged and kissed.
She wasn’t just a brilliant and loving mum - she was an outstanding Nana too. My sisters and I experienced this when she sacrificially gave up her life in Scotland to come be with us in various parts of the country (and in my case different countries) when we all had kids of our own. She came for weeks at a time to simply help us so we could be better parents. And so today, she not only leaves behind 4 children, but 11 grand-children also - all whom love and miss her dearly.
Above is one of the treats of my childhood. The humble Milky Way holds a special place in my heart. Growing up we didn’t get chocolate a lot. I remember every second Thursday when Dad would come home with some Revels, a Fry’s Peppermint Creme and a Turkish Delight for mum.
So when summer holidays came along, exceptions were made. And out would come a Milky Way. I mention this only to introduce the second quality of my mother: she was resourceful.
One Milky Way could easily supply the nutritional needs of three children. My mother could stretch out a six pack of Milky Ways for the whole summer holiday for three kids.
In all seriousness however (though to be clear - that was a true story!) my mother’s resourcefulness meant that we never went hungry; quite the opposite, we were always well fed, as were the myriad of friends we would frequently bring home unannounced. If there was a tin of chopped tomatoes and a bag of rice in the cupboard, a culinary masterpiece was coming forth in a mere twenty minutes..
Now with children of my own to feed and a budget to balance, I’m astonished at the resourcefulness of my mum. Children are hungry and chocolate is expensive.
To know my mother, was to know her love for Jesus, His word and His church. Everything my mum thought, said and did was in some way inspired by Jesus. She not only believed in Jesus, she sought to live a life that demonstrated His life in hers. Even to her death she was the same in her attitude and outlook. She remained positive, courteous and full of joy. You may ask, how is this possible, even in the face of death? Let me share with you her secret.
A couple of things to note about this verse.
Her love for her kids, was simply an overflow of her love for Christ.
MUM & DAD
MUM & DAD
My mother died on her 47th wedding anniversary. My mother loved my father; she honored and supported him and as children we felt safe growing up because we knew their marriage was safe. My father loved my mother. He's an incredible man who served her and cared for her until she died in his presence at their home.
Mum used to say something that she heard her Nanna say when she was a little girl. In response to our teasing, she’d often say,
Today, of all days, that’s truer than I ever thought possible.