She was born on the 9th of June 1913 and died 4th of September 1995, so I had a mother until I was forty.
She was forty two when I was born and became a widow at forty four. I was two and my brother was twelve. That was tough — emotionally and also financially, but I never really understood how tough until I was much older.
Worked hard all her life … started to work in the mental hospital in 1933 and kept on working until she retired. The last working years, she worked night … that brought in more money as my father didn’t have any insurance when he died and it was hard to make ends meet, but we never lacked anything. My brother had to get home early in the evenings to ‘baby-sit’ me when she went to work.
The age difference of forty two years between she and myself, of course made for quite a few … ‘differences’ — especially in my teenage years. Like many other parents, she kept bringing up what it was like when she was young, but in our case, that was like a different world to me … like she came from a different planet! We were also very different personalities, so to speak. There are times when I feel that I never really knew her and she didn’t know me either, but she was always there. It was a feeling of security.
She never re-married … she never even dated anyone after my father’s death. I don’t think she had time. Working nights, full time at the hospital, raising me and my brother on her own … I think she had her hands pretty much full. Cleanliness was a bit of an obsession so our home was always squeaky clean … clinically clean! I had a tremendous amount of respect for her and that’s perhaps the reason I still fold my towels and sheets the same way she taught me.
I’m thankful to say that in the very last months of her life we got better contact than we’d ever had. I don’t know how it happened … but it did, and we were able to talk about things we’d never talked about and get a lot of things straightened out. It saved me from a lot of grief, guilt and perhaps anxiety after she’d died. She wasn’t sick or anything during these months … it just happened.
When she died from a heart attack, it took about five hours from when the ambulance came until the end. This might sound strange, but I was thankful that she went that way. She was a woman of great will-power and fortunate enough to live on her own, taking care of her own businesses … never having to rely on anybody else or forced to move into an old folks home.
In spite of what I said about we really not knowing each other, we had a very close contact. I spoke with her on the phone every day, no matter where I lived. After she died, it took many weeks before I ceased to reach for the phone to make the daily phone call.
Imagine if she would magically come back for a brief moment, and I’d tell her I was writing a blog about her! 🙂 The Internet had not even come into my life in 1995 so the word ‘blog’ wouldn’t have meant anything to her.