My leg surgery is not going too well. Slow, painful with little progress in spite of the physiotherapy, I'm bloody fed up. I put on a brave face in the main, but even septuagenerians need reassurance at times. I try not to be mardy (do you use the word mardy down your way) but I confess I've been fed up recently. But then I noticed the date.
This week would have been my mothers birthday; she died in 1953 aged forty seven. I've lived for seventy three very eventful years and I'm moaning. My mother died at forty seven, worn out through no fault of her own. I bet she was fed up at times but I never heard her moaning. She deserved so much more from life. My only regret in life is that she did not live longer so that I, being older, could have done more for her. It was 'payback time' that never materialised.
On occasion I try to remember 'life with mother', but always with great difficulty. I certainly revolved around myself at the time of my mothers death. Are boys particularly prone to living in a world of their own I wonder? At times I cringe as to how preoccupied I was at the age of thirteen. Everyone of us has different experiences as we grow up. These have some say, however subconscious in way we turn out, so to speak. I remember my mother in part for Little Miss Muffet Junkets. Also for the fact that she constantly emitted a 'humming noise' when she worked. An unconscious habit which I inherited; I am amused, many are mildly irritated.
'There was no greater love in my life than my mother. But it was a love not based on kisses and cuddles. Mary, my mother was far too busy, and often far too exhausted to show maternal affection in an everyday family sense. That she loved my sister and me was never in doubt. But a constant round of cleaning for various well to do families in the village, plus hours in between as a school cook was all consuming. Add ironing, home cooking, clothes mending and shopping and it was obvious that the burden was awesome in the extreme. On my mother’s death certificate, at the age of forty-seven it read, ‘cause of death, pneumonia’. It would have been more honest had it read ‘death due to overwork’.
There appeared in the Derby Evening Telegraph, on the 10th of September the stark notice informing of my mother’s death.
Stevens. Sept 8th 1953 at 24 The Ridings Ockbrook. Mary Elizabeth aged 47 years, widow of the late Ernest Stevens. Funeral at the Moravian Church on Friday at 3pm.
Neither my sister nor I attended our mother’s funeral; a statement that could be taken by the uninformed to suggest indifference, or lack of respect. The truth is we were not invited. Someone in their wisdom decided that a mother’s funeral was no place for children of eleven and thirteen. We were not asked our opinion, nor were the subjects of death, funerals or life thenceforth ever discussed. If they were, they were lost in the dreamlike haze that hung over me for many, many days, if not months that followed. I have no recollection of what I did that afternoon, but in a way that was the day I grew up.'
(From A Childhood Revisited"
(From A Childhood Revisited"