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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Mothers and daughters

Eleven years ago today my mother died just 2 days before her 87th birthday.  Rarely a day passes that  I don't think of her.  When we first returned to England from living in France in 2008 I went a couple of times to visit the crematorium but she wasn't there - how could she be when she is here in my heart?  So today I shall pick a little posy from the garden and have it here in her memory - not that I need anything to remind me!

Grandmother aged about 24

 My mother's mother died when my Mum was 14 years old and I often wonder how that must have been for her having to deal with the death of her mother at the same time as she was about to have to leave home and go out into the world of work - in her case into service.  I never asked her about it and now I wonder why not. I never knew my Granny of course and for that I am sorry as I know how special was the relationship between my mother and my daughter and wish I might have known a Grandmother's love too.  What stories my Granny might have been able to tell me about her own life and indeed about my mother as a child but it was not to be.  I am named after her and my daughter's second name is her's too so that she lives on in that way.

My mother in her 20s

Not until after her death did I really begin to think of my mother as a person with the same hopes, fears and emotions as me and for that I am sorry.  How must it have been for her losing the only man she ever really loved and being left with me to bring up all on her own.  She'd have lost her job of course - she was in service at the time in London and the stigma of being a single unmarried mother must have made life very difficult for her in the 1940s when such things were much more frowned upon. (For the story of her love affair see here)

My mother and me in the 1940s.  I can see my daughter in the above photo of my mother although I didn't take after her in looks at all myself. 

I know that I was fortunate in having a mother like mine - not all daughters grow up feeling so loved and in the knowledge that their mothers thought them "the best thing since sliced bread".  If my memories are tinged with sadness it is no longer the all enveloping grief, which is surely a selfish emotion and directed more at how the death will affect us now that we are without the person we loved, but a regret that I didn't take the trouble to get to know my mother properly as a person and not just as Mum yet maybe even if I had asked her all the questions I now wish I had answers to she wouldn't have wanted to tell me for doesn't every woman have a few secrets kept hidden deep in their hearts which they don't want to share with anyone and perhaps least of all their daughters? 

Many women hate the thought of becoming like their mothers I know but I must admit that when I hear myself saying something she might have said or find myself doing things she would have done I don't mind at all that I am becoming more like her - I could certainly do a lot worse!  She was strong, independent, courageous, loving, generous and capable of making sixpence do the job of a shilling, which is a useful skill in these days of recession and one which I am glad to have learned at her knee!  She taught me the real meaning of love and I am so glad that she was my mother!  I wonder if my own daughter will be able to say the same about me one day - I do hope so!

Having gone off on this track I feel another "memories" post coming on - you have been warned!!


  1. What a lovely thoughtful tribute Jane. From what you've already told us she was a very strong woman who must have coped with some harsh times on her own with you.
    Look forward to your memories, they are always very interesting.

  2. She was a very beautiful lady, and that is a lovely tribute to her. I'm sure that she was as incredibly proud of you, as you clearly are of her.

    Have a good day, with lovely memories :-)

  3. I love your memories Jane. So good to have lovely memories and what details you can recall! I think I must have lived my young life in blinkers!

  4. A lovely post, Jane, a what a great mother she must have been. You are so right about holding people in your heart - my dad passed away 12 years ago, and my sister Diana only last year, tragically young. They are both 'at' the crematorium which I pass a couple of times a week, and I always send a quick thought there, but they are not there for me, but in my heart and in my head, and all around my home when I pick up certain objects or look at photos, books, etc.

  5. So nice to have have a mother who must have loved you more than anything in the world, I have lost my dad and I know you mean when you say not a day passes when you do not them.

  6. What a great post. Your mum does sound like an amazing person.

  7. Jane, when my Mum passed away a couple of years ago you were so kind and thoughtful to me and I've always appreciated it. I'd like to think we're cut from the same cloth as your thoughts reflect my own at times. Only the other day, after taking on a sewing job for someone at short notice, did I smile and think I am turning into my Mum. Many's the time we'd berate her for helping someone out with a dress alteration at a moment's notice, dropping everything for someone's else's deadline. When I think of how we moaned because it meant we had to get our own tea while she frantically stitched away so someone could wear the frock out that night! And then we'd complain when she wouldn't accept anything for doing it. Now I'm doing it myself and like you, I'm happy to think I'm turning out like my Mum. She was a star and I think of her daily just the same. Lovely memories Jane. Thank you.

  8. Lovely thoughts about your Mum, Jane. I'd be thrilled if anyone thought I was like my mother, she was a fantastic person, and , like you I think about her every day, although she's been dead for 24 years.

  9. Another very moving tale. I can't understand why I didn't leave a comment on your first telling of your Mother's story since it too was very moving.

    My Mother died when I was 19, in 1965 and I still miss her. She meant so very much to me and I sometimes wonder if I was a disappointment to her having arrived so late in her life.

    I am certain that your daughter finds all that she needs in you.

  10. how lovely that you have such fond memories Jane, your Mum must have been a wonderful lady. i would like to have known her myself.

  11. What a lovely tribute to your mother Jane!
    vivienne x

  12. Beautiful post, and lovely tribute.
    My mum died nine years ago and I still miss her too.
    Julie xxxxxxxx

  13. What a lovely, touching post. You say so many of the things that I feel about my mother. She also was widowed at 33, and left with two little girls to bring up, and made a wonderful job of it. Not much money but huge security.

  14. What a lovely thoughtful post. I became a mother very young age of 18 and now 11 years later, am due my second (in 13 days!) It's been tough and amazing and my journey is still unfolding.

    My mother was there, and still is there, for me every step of the way and I know in my heart she is my best friend. Thank you for sharing such a lovely post- maybe it's the hormones but I have come over all emotional!

    *waves hello* from a new follower, Hazel x

  15. Jane,
    What a sweet, sad, sweet post. Moms are amazing. When we are young, they seem a part of us, always there - making life easy. Then we push away. They let go, but they are always there. Maybe that's part of the mommy business. There ready to love us, to let us grow up and away. Always giving life in some form. Thanks for reminding me to call my mom - I'm a fortunate woman.

  16. As others have said, what a lovely tribute to a beautiful woman.
    It seems very difficult to know our parents as 'real' people, and I know I protect my sons from the 'real' me, usually being in 'mother' mode.

  17. A beautifully written and moving tribute to your mother Jane... So touching in many ways. When you touched on the point that so many mothers have secrets it resonated. I know mine had hers and I mine....
    You are so right that your mother is not at the crematorium but in your head and in your heart.

  18. A lovely tribute to your Mum Jane. The photos are stunning and you looked like such a lovely little girl. I bet your Mum was proud of you. x

  19. What a moving post, and a beautiful tribute to you dear Mum.


  20. What a beautiful post, I think both your mother and grandmother must have been wonderful women. I have very strong relationships with both my own mother and my daughter and feel very blessed, I hope it's always the case. I imagine those years since your mother died have gone quickly!
    Have a wonderful week, Jane

  21. This is a most beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and regrets and the photos too, you Mother is beautiful.
    I've been immersed in genealogy the past six weeks and discovered things about my Dad's Mother's family that he never knew, his Mother never talked about her background. How very sad that at that time things were hidden because of shame. I'm so glad we are in some ways a more tolerant society now.
    I'm looking forward to more "memories" posts.
    Anne xx

  22. I asked my Dad lots of questions when I contracted the genealogy bug 25 years ago but I usually only got "I can't remember - its a long time ago" in reply. I found out lots more about his life after his death. I've notebooks full of things Mum remembers - whenever a memory surfaces I write it in my book. These days memories belonging to my sisters go in as well!

    And no one is really gone until there is nobody here that remembers them. I make sure I remember all my ancestors often.

  23. That is so beautiful - I think she would be very proud of you - what you have achieved...your hopes and dreams.

    Nina x

  24. This is such a lovely tribute to your wonderful mother. You write so beautifully about your life, and these posts are fascinating. How lovely that you have those warm and special memories of your mother's love and care for you and can express them so well.
    Helen x

  25. Such a heartfelt post Jane. My own mother is in her 80s now and I am often reminded she may not be with us for so very many more years. She came late to motherhood and I'm not sure that children were quite what she had imagined, rather too unmalleable for her liking I suspect ... it hasn't always been an easy relationship! It is good that you have such happy memories :)

  26. My mother has been gone for several years but, I still have these sudden moments when I think - oh, I need to call Mom and ask her something or tell her something.

    Mothers are so special and there are so many things I wish I had taken the time to ask her.....

  27. What a lovely post Jane, beautiful words and thoughts on your much loved Mother and what beautiful woman she and her Mother were. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and words


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