My Mum!

Earlier this week, my niece posted pictures of my Mum on her Facebook page that were taken on her 90th birthday. It stirred some memories because my nephew commented how he remembers her laugh! I sent him a link to my poem about her….

…. and apparently it produced an emotional response.

My Mum was a remarkable role model, and it was all totally intuitive. She had little more than a basic education, but exemplified some major attributes. She had sufficient pride to maintain a healthy self-esteem, but no more. She worked in various jobs; in a major store as a sales assistant; a bus conductor; she packed groceries for delivery, and was a seamstress for a local theater. She knew that she had to work, and therefore took anything that was available.

Both my Mum and Dad were very private people, and I cannot recall one time when they entertained at home. They were self sufficient in their own little world however, they made a huge impact on me around 1969/1970.

I knew a young lady who was having a very difficult time at home and, at one point, decided that her solution would be to kill herself. She overdosed but, fortunately, was discovered and rushed to hospital. When she was discharged, her only option was to return to her home, but it was clear that there was no understanding, sympathy or compassion for her there. My (then) wife and I decided that, until we could come up with a better arrangement, she could live with us.

As we lived very close to her home, it really was not the best solution, and she really needed a total break from her earlier experiences. I decided to contact my Mum and Dad and see if they would consider taking her for however long it took for her to regain some stability, and move forward with her life.

My Mum and Dad lived a 3 hour drive away, and on the coast so it would be perfect. My concerns were whether they would consider not only sacrificing their privacy, but also having a young girl living with them who they knew nothing about. Would they want to take some responsibility for a young girl who had attempted suicide not much earlier?

Once I explained the circumstances, they both immediately said yes… of course. It was almost as if they were surprised that I felt I had to so delicately work around to asking!

While I admired both of them for that decision, it was my Mum that took on the major caring role. When my Mum passed away many years later, that young girl (now much older of course) remembered so well how she was treated like a member of the family. My Mum treated her like she had her own daughters.

When we moved to Canada and our daughter (in her teens) started bringing friends home who were having various difficulties at home, it really was not surprising that a few of them lived with us for periods of time. I cannot describe the sense of satisfaction, of fulfillment, when you offer sanctuary to an individual who has clearly run out of options, and then seeing them become independent a few months later.

Thank you Mum. You may be remembered for your laughter (and so you should), and for your sparkling eyes (and so you should), but my memories of you have, at the top of the list, theΒ  time when you took care of a young girl, and made her feel loved as one of your family.


24 thoughts on “My Mum!

  1. What a wonderful example your parents, especially your mom, set for you! And I’m not surprised that you carried on as you were taught, helping others in your turn. Your children will probably do the same. Those are the sort of values that should be passed on!

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  2. I was just mentioning a while ago, a mother’s wealth are her children and now reading this… I think this is one of the best gift a person can leave us with memories of love and kindness ❀❀❀

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  3. Not surprised by the emotional response at all. Your poem is a beautiful tribute to her. Your Mum sounds like such a wonderful person, and she definitely passed down her legacy of caring to you!!
    We also have taken in those who were in need of some extra love and care.

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  4. I also admire your wonderful mother, Colin. My son brought home several “strays” with two legs during his teen years, people young and not so young, who needed a temporary home. I only ever had to toss out two girls, who I could sense from the start were trouble. The rest stayed as long as they needed.

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    • Thanks Kate! Taking on responsibilities for situations that are not our problem is surely the basis for our mutual survival. Everybody who supports overseas aid; the local agencies who are dealing with sex trafficking; animal welfare groups; refugees from war torn countries …. all these are contributions to resolve issues that are really not their problem, but, to do nothing is rather self-centered and contrary to all religious teachings that I have ever come across.

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  5. What an amazing role model of compassion and active support indeed! Moms are basically missed but a mom like yours with the light she radiated even more. Thank you for sharing this moving story and for this heartfelt impulse, Colin.

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