This is my first blog in over a month, and during that time much has changed in my life, different chapters have been closed, it’s been difficult to think straight let alone write. In a period of two weeks my mother was taken into hospital, where she passed away, and we exchanged and completed on the sale of our house, and now have a new home. To say it has been an emotional time would be an understatement, so, if I may, I’d like to share the closure of one of those chapters.
This is my mum, Sandra Glenys Hawkes, photographed at the same age as I am now, and looking stunning. She died on the 6th September, a month and a day short of her seventy second birthday, and barely a week after her fifty-fourth wedding anniversary. She’d been ill for several years, and on three separate occasions over the last four years we’d been taken into a quiet room by the doctors, and told to prepare ourselves for the worst. The worst didn’t happen on those occasions, she managed to find the strength to stay with us, and confound the doctors. This time even her fear of being in hospital wasn’t enough, and she passed away in the early hours of the morning with my brother by her side. Whilst we knew it was coming, it didn’t soften the blow.
Mum’s funeral took place less than a week later on the 12th September, and as it says on the front of this order of service, it was a celebration of her life, with memories shared, and more than a few laughs amongst the many tears shed. Everyone says it was a lovely service, and to our family it was. Warts and all, in what seemed like a few short moments, we shared and celebrated all that she’d been to us, and said goodbye.
Mum, was truly a unique person in all senses of the word. She was a petite lady, standing five feet two, she weighed no more than ninety eight pounds her whole life, except when pregnant – producing four children in five years, and all by the age of twenty three! I cannot imagine what it must have been like coping with the four of us, but she did, and she did it well. We were taught proper manners, to be respectful, not to cause a fuss unnecessarily (particularly in public), and as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, not to say anything if we had nothing nice to say. She even found time to teach me to read before I started school. The photograph shows a new bride, a proud husband, and newly born me, Mum was nineteen and Dad twenty-three.
Like all of us, she wasn’t perfect. She had more superstitions than I can remember, and she liked to hear the local gossip, despite being a fiercely private person who didn’t like her business to be discussed outside of the house. She was frightened by many things: spiders, a gypsy’s curse, thunder, hospitals, the list was endless. She liked to hear of good things being celebrated, but would ignore bad things, refusing to acknowledge them sometimes, as though that would lessen the impact. During that last week in hospital, she was told how poorly she was, yet still she talked about coming home, and she didn’t want her sisters told she was in hospital as they would make a fuss and cry. In fact she instructed us not to tell anyone she was in hospital, or the local gossip would get hold of it, and then everyone would know. Why was this so important to her? What difference would that make? I have no idea, but it was mum being mum, and we respected her wishes.
Like many teenagers I didn’t always see eye to eye with my mother. There were more than a few arguments over nothing particularly important, (I was too worried about her reaction to break any important rules), but I argued against many of her odd convictions, with a teenager’s logic and not much patience. I redeemed myself in later years though, by producing her first grandchild; she had six grandchildren in the end, and adored every one of them, so proud of even the most minor achievement. When they teased her about her superstitions and views on the world, she would laugh with them, unless of course they tried to put an umbrella up indoors, or place new shoes on her table!
As you can imagine there have been many conversations about mum over the last few weeks, and with only a few exceptions they have ended in laughter, she always made us laugh, even though sometimes that wasn’t her intention, and when she realised we were laughing at her she would join in. My brother, Chris’s words in the family announcement were perfect: “You gave me good looks, a fear of spiders, and a sense of humour. But most of all you gave me love. I will miss you so much.”
Sandra Glenys Hawkes, never did anything earth shattering or out of the ordinary, she was simply always there, sitting at the table doing her crosswords, and leading a quiet life. But, she was loved, she is missed, and as her chapter is closed, she is remembered with smiles.
I don’t think you can do much better than that.