Sunday, April 3

For mum, with love.

Each Mother's Day I wonder how I am going to deal with it. I try to be pro-active and busy myself with organising something family based as Jon's mum;s birthday normally falls round about the same time This year however, with Easter being when it is, Mavis's birthday was 2 weeks ago and we had the family here for Sunday lunch. Today we are taking my MIL out for Sunday lunch.

When my mum was alive, we often went for Sunday dinner, she loved cooking for us both especially as we had full-time demanding jobs. 

On one particular significant Sunday, Jon and I had gone to mum's for Sunday lunch. As always after we had washed up I would take mum to the local supermarket for her weekly shop.

On returning to the car I helped mum into the passenger seat with my usual joke..
"Do you want a hand up love" I would say as I patted her bum when she was getting into the car.
She always laughed, and this day was no different.
But as she turned to look at me, laughing I was shocked to look and see how old and frail she seemed.
As I walked round to the driver's seat I had to fight back the tears and put on a brave face.

On our way home I shared what had happened with Jon. That night I had the most vivid, graphic dream about mum's funeral. I awoke distressed and upset. The following day, Monday I went round to mums. Had a cup of tea and a chat.

The following day, Tuesday was a teacher training day and after school I popped in to see mum. She told me she had not been feling well, chest pains. I told her to make an appointment with the doctor.

Later that night she phoned to say she had made an appointment with the doctor,for the following day, Wednesday. Jon was on early shift so he said he would take her.
We were laughing with mum, as she said people might think Jon was her toyboy!

At about 3am I awoke with a start.
Jon awoke too.
I told him I had a void in my simple and as graphic as that!

He told me I was worrying about mum and he would ask mum to come and live with us.
I said mum would be very touched by the thought, but she was independent and would prefer to stay at home.

What I said went something like this...
"We will have to accept it Jon that one day I will be teaching away at school and there will be a message from the office to say there is a phone call for me. It will be Phyllis, mum's neighbour saying the curtains are closed.
I will go round and mum will have died."

I didn't sleep much after that.
The next day I went to school and Viv, the school caretaker asked how mum was.
I told her what I had told Jon , practically word for word.

And so the day started as normal.
Registration, assembly, teaching, I forget what now.

At breaktime I was just sending the class out when the school secretary came into my classroom to say there was a phone call for me.

I didn't give it a second thought, but as I was going into the office I asked Jan who it was on the phone,

"Phyllis" she replied.
My hand turned into lead and I could barely open the door, let alone pick up the receiver.

"Denise, your mum's curtains are still closed and it is 10.30."

I knew.

The headteacher, Christine said she would drive me to mum's, it was only a few miles from school.

When we arrived I let myself in and there was mum, she had died in her sleep on 7th September, on what would have been Dad's birthday.

A week later, at mum's funeral I chose this poem to be shared.

From Ye Wearie Wayfarer

Question not, but live and labour
Till yon goal be won,
Helping every feeble neighbour,
Seeking help from none.
Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own.

Adam Lindsay Gordon.

I am surrounded by so many things which were mums and in fact are part of our everyday routines and practices.

As a child, growing up there was one thing I always wanted, to make mum proud of me.
Life hadn't been good for mum and I, but mum always put me first.

The photograph I have chosen shows the love and pride in mum's face.
It was taken at her surprise birthday party at home, November 2nd 1986.

I am handing over the cake. As per usual, in our family, somebody missed my head off!
But that is unimportant, it is mum's face which says it all!

Mum always told me, that in the event of her death there would be a letter for me.
The day she died, as I sat with her waiting for the doctor I went to the place she had told me about and sure enough, there was the letter.
It stated how much mum loved me, was so happy for Jon and I, and we were to remember her with smiles, not tears.


  1. A wonderful post, mrsnesbitt. Oddly enough, I heard about my mum dying when I was just starting a school day. That was nine and a half years ago now but today, it seems like yesterday.

  2. Lovely tribute to your Mum Denise. I was with my Mum when she passed and am thankful for that but I miss her.

  3. oh, my. that's lovely/sad. Still dealing with my mom's death, as you know.

  4. Oh Denise, such a touching post, so full of love and tenderness. Mother's Day does bring up many mixed emotions, doesn't it? I am sure you made your mother very proud indeed, and I have no doubt she knew full well how just loved she was.

  5. Denise, thank you for sharing these aching but lovely memories of your mother. I love the picture of her face shining from the candles but also from her innate qualities.

  6. Hope you're doing OK, she looks a lovely woman. I love that poem.

  7. Oh Denise, so this is why you are having a hard time today.
    Sending you a great big hug from Canada.
    Jane x

  8. Denise, this a lovely tribute to your mum. She did a lovely thing leaving you that letter!

    I always have mixed emotions on Mother's Day - grateful for my son but sad because my mum died many years ago - she was younger than I am now - I find that hard to realise.

  9. What a wonderful tribute to a much loved mother. Lucky you. The emotion in your words brought me to tears. I miss mine, too.

  10. This post is a lovely tribute to your lovely mum, Denise. Mother's Day throws up all kinds of emotions, I hope you've enjoyed all your happy memories of your mum today.

  11. We have to remember with smiles, Denise - it is part of the cycle of life and death and we can do nothing else. What we can do though is to love and cherish them while they are here and to love and cherish the memories they leave behind - that is their legacy. Happy Mothering Sunday - happy memories.

  12. My thoughts are with you today, Denise, as you remember your mother. I, too, was at school when I received a phone call that my Mom was in the hospital and as I stood, frightened, I started to faint. The principal took me into his office and I recovered enough to go see Mom. She did come out of that fright, but it was only a few weeks later when I went to visit her (still in hospital) before going to school, the nurses told me they'd been trying to reach me. I stayed all day and into the night when she finally passed away. One never forgets but eventually we can go on and remember all the good times and the love our mothers gave us. I've already given my 2 daughters letters that tell them how much they mean to me - I gave the letters to them on a Mother's Day when they took me out for high tea. Instead of taking from them, I gave each of them a gift and the letter - I hope it means as much to them as that day meant to me. Then, the other day when my 7-year-old GS was staying with me, I showed him the photo of his Great Grandma who had gone to heaven before he was born. He told me I look like her! The best compliment ever! Sending hugs across the pond! {{{you}}}

  13. Your memories and the love you express bring tears to my eyes, Denise.

  14. A heartfelt post that so many of us can relate to. A mother's love can form a very deep attachment and really has such an influence on our lives. The photo of your mum and the cake with all those candles is truly wonderful. I can picture something like that on a table, but bringing it right to her must have been very memorable. Sounds like the two of you had a special loving relationship.

  15. A beautiful post and wonderful tribute, Denise. Love to you on Mother's Day. Ours isn't until May.

  16. Thank you for sharing. Mo.

  17. Thanks for sharing this, Denise. Yesterday will have been a bittersweet day for many of us - happy memories, but still an aching void.
    blessings x

  18. I knew as soon as I clicked on this, what story it would be. It has stuck with me since our last meeting and I now have tears running down my face. For all the mothers, who are gone and are looking down on us, thankyou

  19. Your blog post just gave me goosebumps, what a lovely touching story. Your Mum and you obviously had a very strong bond that lots of people can only ever dream of - so wonderful. Take care and I hope all those fond memories of your Mum make you smile. xxx

  20. I lost my dad 8 years ago, on Sep 3rd 2002 which was 10 years and one month after Mum died suddenly of heart failure. Dad died in his sleep while we were down in Cornwall on holiday, but on that very long, and lonely drive back to the back of beyond I could feel his company saying it would be alright. Only afterwards, a year later when I looked at the photos I realise how old he had become and tired. He had his wish though, to die quietly and quickly and that thought helped me through the days afterwards. He was only 71 when he died, far too young to have left me, but he so missed mum and despite our closeness nothing made up for his loneliness. It is so hard to lose a loved parent, or even both, but comforting to know they didn't suffer xx


Thank you for your comments, always nice to know somebody has taken the time to let me know what they think.