It's Been 12 Months . . .
February 4th 2013 20:21
I was there at her bedside, holding her hand and waiting for the inescapable, my father alongside me – it’s an image I will never be able erase – but also something I will cherish.
It was a Sunday afternoon around 2.30, the sun was out, the sky was almost cerulean in its hue and God had decided it was time.
My mother’s role was simple yet beautiful in its nature – to love and put others first.
Born into a modest setting during the war – hard work, sacrifice and resilience were hallmarks of her very being. She accepted others, embraced and celebrated the beauty they brought into her life and was instinctively protective of those she held close.
Doing what was ‘right’ was expected and simply not an 'option' in our family. Honesty and deed were the yardsticks by which you and others were measured.
As a kid, mum would ‘pump up’ my sometimes flagging confidence in a way only a mother can, and instilled the need for a ‘game face’ in spite of life's sometimes cruel and testing turns.
She was no nonsense.
The urgency to get the job done properly and never to let yourself (or others) down was paramount - yet even as a ‘little man' who sometimes 'had to be grrown up and brave’ there was always a cuddle and soft word when the time called for it.
She was a strong woman. Nothing or no one could stand in her way when she was focused on a goal. Woe betide anyone who dared cross her, where family, friends, the less fortunate or those with life challenges were concerned.
She was a master in championing ‘tough love’ life lessons yet was unconditional with her time and affection.
Her compassion, nurturing and care was surely handed down by angels though.
When first given the news several years ago that an insidious card had been dealt her way, she chose not to dwell on the injustice but rather take care of her younger sister, who that very same week had a similar card from the same pack presented to her.
Never once did she complain. The smiles kept coming, the fight against the disease which was keeping her from loving and helping others raged – til finally the signs that a greater cause lay in wait were evident.
Sometimes I would hear her cry. Always I would want to take the pain away.
In the end, both she and her maker cut a deal. She would continue to do her work for Him and watch over the rest of us from his home - if he could help her leave in peace with dad and myself by her side.
My mother is gone – but I know she walks with me every day.
The frailties of the human body pail compared with the strength of the human spirit.
I’m a grown man. My mother taught me that I must get on with life – not to cry for her passing and to look after and love those around me – but I couldn’t help but shed a quiet tear late one night just a few weeks back when an SMS arrived on the phone she’d owned and which had been in dad’s possession.
Even as she lay there – certain by this time of her greater calling, her thoughts were not of what lie in wait but of those who needed support and encouragement.
Nearly 10 months after I last held her hand – a text message – which had been pre-programed to be seen on my birthday arrived from her, its contents both re-assuring and comforting yet at the same time intensely private – just as mum was.
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