Whenever I think of my mother now I see her laughing at something. Even though her life was severely restricted by rheumatoid arthritis, she rarely complained or lost her sense of fun. She never thought of herself as old or disabled but I don’t think she ever realised how much other people valued her wisdom and company. Her legacy is the love she had for her family and friends and her courage.
My grandmother died when Mum was only 37 and many years later she told me that not a day went by without her thinking about her mum and telling her something in a silent conversation – I think that has been the same for me. Shopping for presents the Christmas after she had died, I was dithering over which earrings to buy my daughter. I heard her voice so clearly: “Don’t be so mean. Buy them both!” Needless to say I followed her advice!
My mother loved Mothering Sunday – in fact she loved celebrations of all kinds – but one year she told us not to bother giving her anything. We didn’t get her cards but we did buy her a rubber plant. We hadn’t realised how disappointed she’d be – she adored receiving cards. However she did love and cherish the rubber plant which seemed to last forever – a constant reminder that written declarations of love were needed too!
This excerpt was taken from a longer article for Lynsey The Mother Duck blog.
Photo of Joan Coates on the day Olivia was born ©Anne Coates