Tomorrow it is one year to the day since I lost my lovely mum. Take it from me, she was one in a million. Here is a picture of her. This lovely smile says it all. This is how she looked when we walked in for our traditional Tuesday lunchtime dinner. Work never got in the way of Tuesday lunchtimes – it was sacrosanct. “Book me a Tuesday lunchtime meeting at your peril!” I used to say. “I go to my mum’s on a Tuesday lunchtime.” Of course, I used to see her nearly every day, but Tuesdays? Well that was our special time. Just for Julie and me. We were pampered – spoiled so rotten we didn’t want to go back to work in the afternoon. On some occasions we didn’t – when I took flexitime and Julie had a day off. Those such afternoons are the stuff that diamond and pearl memories are made of, but we didn’t do anything special – just stayed round mum’s and lolled about like we were teenagers and talked about nothing in particular.
Here is a poem I wrote just after she died. Fifty-two lonely Tuesdays. She wanted me to try and get my work published for over 35 years. So here you are mum. It’s total crap. It’s got cliches; it’s poetry and I can’t do poetry very well; and everyone will be cringing. It’s everything that it shouldn’t be and it would send a professional running for the nearest hills, but I’m publishing on my blog – for you.
Tuesday Stew and Sanctuary
A gentle lady, kind, loving and wise.
A lovely big smile, with twinkling eyes
Greeted us, as we walked through the door
To a house filled with love, and Kit-Kats galore.
“Can you stay for a little while?”
She would enquire with a beaming smile.
“I haven’t seen anyone else all day”
As she served our dinner on a familiar tray.
Stew, dumplings, gravy and mushy peas
Balanced precariously on our knees.
With apple pie and custard for desert
We ate so much our stomachs hurt!
“Where’s your ironing”, she would reprimand.
We’d look up, feeling quite alarmed.
She loved to iron, tackling huge great mounds
In the afternoons, whilst watching Countdown.
“We’ve done some this morning, we would reply
Biting our lips at the little white lie.
“We’ll bring you the rest, so that you can do it
But only if you’re sure you’re up to it!”
“Please let me help you”, she would then say
“I need to be needed every day.
What is the point of my existence
If I can’t help my family?” (she was very persistent).
“Don’t wash up, just leave it to me,
Let’s sit and talk while we drink our tea.
I love to see you: you know I do,
I love to cook you your favourite stew.”
Now you are gone, mum, we feel quite bereft.
An empty, cold house is all that is left
But we smile when we reflect on your legacies –
Priceless memories, Mum, for us and our families.
We miss you so much Mum, now that you’re gone
But in us, your daughters, you will live on.
We’ ll become grandmothers, just like you
And cook our daughters their Tuesday stew.
11th December 2006