Our Mother's Love
Our Mum, our Nan & our friend Valerie
A Mother's love is something
that no one can explain,
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away
—Helen Steiner Rice -
I think the last clear exchange my Mother and I had was one night as I was going home, when I said "I love you Mum." And Mum replied "I love you all."
In these last few years she said that quite a bit. Still it wasn't always that natural for her but I've always known how much she loved us.
Nowadays people say it all the time. Even men say it to their friends but then they also say things like trust me and I'll call you later.
The thing is our Mum's love is pure. It does not require words because it's in everything she did and that's real love. Yes, you can feel love but love is about actions more than it is about what you say, or even feel.
Nan must have known this because not only was our mother what some might describe as a domestic goddess, she not only fed us, she spoiled us. When we needed clothes, they were always on par with everyone else's, which when I think of what our family budget must have been back then, is pretty impressive. But what made us most proud was when we needed defending, her protection could be ferocious.
Of course no one's perfect and Nan could be a tough cookie some times. On one of these rare occasions when I mistakenly called Nan a name that I later learned no lady should ever be called pertaining to shape, I found out how tough she could be. As soon as that word had crossed my lips I knew it was a mistake. What I didn't know was that thinking I could beat her in a race up 4 flights of stairs to the safety of my bedroom was another mistake. But yes, I've always known how much Nan loved us. Relentlessly.
Sadly Nan's childhood was not the same as ours, far from it. Yet where many allow themselves to become bitter, Nan was one of those who just resolved to do better and I'm so proud of her for that too. Instead of these difficulties defeating her they somehow made her brave and strong which is what Valerie means. Brave and strong.
That's how Nan was to the very end, she would rather endure the pain than take medication. Just so she wouldn't get drowsy. So she could be THERE with us as long as possible. I don't believe many in the medical staff ever expected Nan to last to Mother's Day, let alone her birthday, but she got there and kept on going because that's who Valerie is, our Mum, your Nan, or your friend. Brave and strong.
They say YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU'VE GOT UNTIL ITS GONE. But I really did think I knew how good and wonderful she was but I ACTUALLY didn't until this happened.
Nan took everything life threw at her and just kept coming back for more. Throughout this battle Nan did all she could do to hang on whilst at the same time keeping her spirits high for us and she never complained once. We've been amazed and inspired by her. Now I realise that within the tragedy of Nan's final chapter she left a hidden gift. Inspiration.
So rest in peace Mum. We will think of you and miss you. And when I say think of you I mean every day, and when I say I'll miss you, I mean always. I love you Mum.