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 -
It would be possible to write a book of Mum's life. Its chapters would have each of us here present somewhere in it.
Mum has already shared some of the amusing bits with my children. Just ask them later about the time when I was quite small and swallowed a stone!
Mum's childhood was not as conventional as ours. She was born in Austria in 1928. Her young years were simple and she enjoyed holidays up in the mountains.
However her early teenage years were marked with foreign occupation and British bombings. She told me of the time when she and her close school friend Wanda both having joined the Red Cross were allowed free movement around the town of Graz during bombing raids. This often got them very close to serious trouble and they would then be stuck in bomb shelters for many hours. It was for them an adventure.
In spite of the war Mum was still able to continue her schooling and excelled particularly in English language. She told me that practicing the English ‘TH' sound required a number of sheets newspaper being placed on the desk in front of them before starting. The wet newspapers were then dried after every lesson!
Mum came to England more than 65 years ago. All of Europe was being rebuilt from the ravages of the War but there were some her Austrian family here already who were able to love, encourage and help her along. England became her future and home.
From her childhood experience she understood the need for security. When Mum married she ensured my brother Charlie and I had a secure and loving home. Mum worked hard and had a generosity of spirit - always wanting to provide us children with the things she was never able to have in her early life. She would often remind us how things had been during the war and how slowly things had improved at home in Austria.
Over the years when Dad was not well, Mum studied and trained as a Special Needs Teacher and pursued a full time teaching career. When Dad died this was her independence and career for the future.
With brother Charlie and me, both married and away from home, Mum eventually remarried and continued teaching. Sadly her husband, Bob, died some years ago.
Mum loved to spend time in her garden. There always plenty to do and in no way would she move to anywhere else to live.
She had very precious friendships and support was always there for her from her neighbours on both sides. She wanted and was able to spend the last days of her life at home. Regular walks down the garden kept her mobile.
Mum's health has over a few years had a number of setbacks. Despite that she took everything that was thrown at her and always bounced back. Her ability to keep going, strength and resilience has even amazed the hospital medical staff in the last few weeks of her life.
Instead of these difficulties defeating her they somehow made her stronger. Although becoming more fragile in body and mind, there were times that her love for her sons and wider family brought her through difficult moments.
I have in the last few days opened a letter to me, from Mum, written nearly 10 years ago especially for this time. I finish with part of the that, which has these words from her…
Life is so fragile, short and very precious.
All my Love and Blessings to you all.
My Spirit will be with you forever.
I thank God for my Blessing in having such wonderful sons and for their wonderful families.