PASS IT ON
In the early hours of a quiet February morning, just as the sun was appearing over the trees to shine through the window, I held my beautiful and so loved Mum in my arms as I kissed her for the very last time.
Stroking her lovely face I told her that it was time to let go. She sighed and peacefully slipped away to a place without pain, without sadness and without fear. She had lost her brave battle with cancer and the world suddenly became a much emptier and lonelier place for me.
I miss her every single day, she was not only my Mum, she was my best friend, my mentor and my guide. She was incredibly funny, hugely kind hearted, strong, compassionate, stubborn, and at times, excruciatingly frustrating, but she was my Mum. She truly was one in a million and I adored her.
Later that morning as I sat on the garden wall, kicking my feet against it and watching the world go by, I wished with all my heart that I could once more be a child, to have my time with her all over again. To smell her perfume, to have her dry my tears and tell me everything would be grand. I remember feeling so angry as village life carried on as normal, I wanted to scream at everyone and ask them how they could continue going to work, school, shopping, laughing and living when my Mum had gone. It was for a short time as though she had never existed, as though there was nothing to show for her having been here except for our heartbreak as a family.
It took me many months to realise that this is what life is all about. The world carries on regardless.
It is what we leave as a legacy that is the measure of our existence.
We are born and then we pass – in between we live. How we live that life from the beginning to the end is so vitally important, not only to our families and ourselves, but to those whose lives we touch by just merely ‘being here’.
My Mum did leave a legacy. She left wonderful memories of her kindness, compassion and her love of life, not just for me, but for everyone who met her.
She was a legend. Who else could inform her family two days before Christmas that there would be an extra guest for Dinner. We all excitedly wondered who it could be and more to the point, where on earth Mum would fit him in amongst the ex boyfriends/girlfriends/Husbands/Wives, current boyfriends/girlfriends/Husbands/Wives and the cantankerous old sod without a family borrowed from a nearby Nursing Home. We weren’t in the least bit surprised or disappointed to discover that it was ‘John’ the BIG ISSUE seller from outside our local Morrisons, that was to be the guest of honour.
In Mum’s world, no one was ever excluded.
She once travelled on a bitterly cold day in to Town to buy thermal underwear and socks for John, telling him they were old ones that belonged to Dad so he wouldn’t feel uncomfortable in accepting an expensive gift. In her haste to make sure he wouldn’t die of hypothermia whilst selling his magazines, she bought them three sizes too small and forgot to remove the price tags. He knew, but didn’t spoil the pleasure she felt in the belief that she was helping him, although he did liken his curled up to toes to Aladdins carpet slippers and his vest to a second skin! That same Big Issue seller, having heard that Mum had passed away came to her Celebration of Life service as he wanted to say goodbye to the one person who had truly believed in him and had shown him a kindness.
My mum was the woman who danced between gutter and pavement with her shoes in her hands after a night out, the woman who possessed the Stare of Imminent Death for anyone who dared to upset her children, the woman who chased her son around the house with an ornamental ceremonial sword after she mistook him for a burglar when he came home drunk late one night. She was the woman everyone turned to for a hug when times got tough. Her courage knew no bounds.
She was also the woman who passionately believed in something called PASS IT ON.
You show a kindness to just one person, with no thought of reward or favour for yourself, but only to ask that the kindness be passed to another, and so on.
Can you imagine the impact that this could make in an hour, a day or a week?
Could I ask that today you consider carrying out one act of kindness to another and say ‘this is for Sheila‘ to start the ball rolling for the biggest game of PASS IT ON that my Mum could ever have imagined.
Remember, by simply just being here you are already making a difference to someone, somewhere. That is proof of how much we are all valued, even by those we have yet to meet.
Please PASS IT ON…..in memory of my beautiful Mum
SHEILA JANE RADESTOCK
She did exist, she did live and she did make a difference.
She is the sadness at the start of each new day but a beautiful memory by its close.
She is the gentle breeze that carries her perfume and the sunshine that warms my face.
She is the emptiness in my heart, yet the miracle of life in my grandchildren.
She is the stillness of night, the flutter of wings, the snowdrop, the crocus and the Rose.
She was my best friend, my guide, my light
She was my Mum.
© 2020 Gina Kirkham