Happy Birthday Mum

The photo above is of my Mum celebrating her 70th birthday, in 1994. She died in 2012, but if she was alive today, she would be 96.

I’m not sure I would have wanted her to have still been around to possibly contract Covid-19, or to be living in fear of the virus like so many others are. Though her own protracted death was no less pleasant.

She had a hard life, living during WW2 as a teenager in the London Blitz. Then she was later abandoned by my father, in 1975. She always worked, right up until her late seventies, and she loved all her pets as if they were children.

My Mum was not only a great mother to me, but also my friend, my confidante, and a support I could always rely on.

Never a day goes by when I don’t think of her.
Never a day goes by when I don’t miss her.
Never a day goes by when I don’t thank her for all she did for me.

Violet Annie Johnson. 1924-2012.

Euthanasia does exist

Thinking about my Mum this morning, and her distressingly hard departure from this life. The Liverpool Care Pathway mentioned in this post has since been discredited.

Too late for her, unfortunately.

beetleypete

During the last quarter of her life, my Mum was often ill. Her breathing problems became so bad, there would be crisis after crisis, occasions where she was not expected to survive. After recovering from these, she would usually say the same things, and have an identical conversation with me. She lamented the fact that voluntary euthanasia was illegal in the UK. She could see a future where she would not want to go on, but be unable to end her life with dignity, at a time of her own choosing. A vocal supporter of the ‘right to die’ campaign, she would always tell me that she did not want to, in her words, ‘end up as a cabbage’.  There were numerous times, when she would ask me to reassure her that I would advise any medical authorities that she was not to be resuscitated, and that her life was…

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Looking after Mum

After the post remembering my Mum’s birthday this week, I was interested to see something similar on the blog of American writer, Pete Springer. That reminded me of this post from 2013, which few of you have seen before. Anyone who has ever cared for an elderly relative might be able to identify with this.

beetleypete

When I was young, my Mum was always there. She worked hard, looking after the house, cooking and cleaning, and doing all the washing and ironing. In addition to this, she also had a full-time job, and looked in on her own parents, as well as her sisters and brother. She rarely told me off, always seemed pleased to see me, and gave me constant encouragement in my school work, reading, and the development of my imagination. If I was ill, she tended me, sitting up all night by my bed if need be. She worried constantly about my eating, to the extent of overfeeding me, and making sure I always had sweets, and any other treats I desired. Though not a spoilt child, I was certainly a well-nurtured one.

As I got older, she continued in kind. When I was on school holidays, she arranged for her mother to…

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Happy Birthday, Mum

My Mother was born on the 9th of July, 1924. If she was still alive, she would have been 91 today. But she sadly died in 2012, and didn’t see her 88th birthday. I think of her often of course, but it is always a little more poignant on this date.

She was a Londoner, an ordinary woman from a working-class background, who sought to better her circumstances, and to improve her lot in life. Her teenage years were scarred by the Second World War, and her marriage to my father was not completely happy. But she found her joy from having me, being with her family and friends, and loving her pets. She worked hard all her life,  long past a normal retirement age. Until her mobility was reduced by illness, she could be seen out with her beloved dogs two or three times a day, in the area where she lived.

She managed old age well. She did not complain about loneliness, and found her pleasures in simple things; a dog at her feet, a cat on her lap, a good book to read, or favourite TV show to watch. She was devoted to her extended family, and remained a great friend to me until the day she died, as well as a mother who trusted me to do the right thing, and to live my life well. She worried about the state of the world, supported charities helping African children, and also animal charities here in the UK. She would do anything to help an older neighbour, whether preparing them food and cakes, or getting their shopping for them.

Her own needs were few. She eschewed luxuries, and was happy to eat the same food she had enjoyed for all of her life. As long as her pets were well-cared for, and her family content, then she was happy. She never asked to be taken out, or for gifts, yet was free with her own generosity to anyone in need. She could teach many of us what it means to live a life that involves caring for others, never putting yourself first. She was a good woman, in every sense of that description.

She will not be remembered as others are, by their so-called achievements, or successes. But she did achieve, often against trying circumstances, and she was successful; as a mother, a sister, an aunt, a friend, and a neighbour. She was of her time, and that was a good time.

Happy Birthday, Mum.

Violet Johnson 1924-2012.

Missing Mum

I don’t really know how to explain it, but I have been missing my Mum a fair bit lately. For those of you who don’t know, my Mum died in March 2012, after a difficult time. It was a few days before my birthday, just before I retired, and a week before I moved to Norfolk. It was all a bit quick, and everything happened during a very short period.

I have her ashes in an urn in a room here. Last year, I bought a marble bird-bath. It contains a purpose-built inner sleeve, designed to hold her ashes, and I intended to place it in our garden, as a memorial to her. I don’t know why, but I just haven’t been able to get around to doing that yet. I must really organise myself to get this done soon, as it has gone on too long.

Until she became confused and difficult, following multiple strokes, I had a very good relationship with my Mum. We could talk about anything and everything; and she was always forthright in her comments, despite our closeness. The funny thing is, I don’t even have anything I need to talk about. There are no issues in my life, nothing I need her advice on, and no concerns that I want to discuss. Part of me just wishes that she was still around.

Of course, if she was here, my life would be completely different. She would have care problems, and she might well be cantankerous, and hard to get on with. At the end, she wanted to die, and we also wanted what was best for her quality of life. I thought that I had dealt with it all. At the age of 62, I was sure that I could go on, and be happy that she had no more need to suffer.

But just for the last few days, I have missed her. And I have no idea why.