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Saying it with flowers…

It would have been my mum’s birthday tomorrow. She came from a long lived family, so she ‘should’ still have been with us if it hadn’t been for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, delays and errors. I still miss her more than I can say, and it’s not something that time seems to ease because there have been so many things that she ought to have seen. Mothering Sunday feels all wrong because I was used to celebrating other people, not being celebrated, and, of course, I have two supremely logical adult autistic offspring who cannot get their heads round why you should only celebrate your mum one day a year and why a mum needs a card.

That suits me nicely, but there’s no denying that there are times like this when she is very close to the top of my mind and I remember yet again how lucky I was to have a mother who supported my writing so wholeheartedly and was so proud every single time I had a short story published in a magazine. There might have been someone in Poole who wasn’t shown them, but if there was, then I never met them! She’d show them off when she was in hospital for transfusions and she helped me choose my Eleanor Neville pen name one sunny afternoon in the garden while she ate the gooseberries from the bush I gave her one Mothering Sunday.

Because, you see, she also hated cut flowers and since she had four living children, she often got them on Mothering Sunday. I gave her a potted fruit bush for her garden instead, and I love to remember her walking down the garden to put the washing out or bring it in and pausing to collect the fruit as it was just ripened and sharing it with my daughter, who now does the same in our garden. I remember the amazing woman who, when my daughter quite logically assumed that apple trees grow apples, cherry trees have cherries so surely mallow bushes (lavatera if you’re feeling posh) should grow marshmallows. A hot needle, lengths of thread and not only did they, but one bush was all pink and the other all white to match the flowers.

She’s buried in a woodland cemetery where rabbits eat anything that you plant, which she would greatly have approved of, so a couple of years ago I decided to mark her birthday and Mothering Sunday by buying some of the plants she loved and growing them in our garden, exactly as I rescued her pots after her death and took cuttings of so many of her plants. I’m sad to say that her mallow bush has never again fruited but the pink and white flowers make us smile and share happy memories.

The azalea bushes will be in flower for her birthday and one of them just happens to be called ‘Mothers Day.’ This year’s addition is a saxifrage known as London Pride, because she was a proud Londoner who’d been repeatedly bombed out during the blitz as a very small child. She taught me not to be afraid of anything or anyone and to try anything because it was so much better to regret it than regret not having done it.

Yes, I will be sad on Monday, but I will eat the Old Jamaica dark chocolate with rum soaked raisins that she loved and walk down at the garden and look at the plants that I grow because of the memories and as a family we’ll talk about those memories. I shall smile as I remember the day that she wanted to wind down the car window in the middle of the lion enclosure in a safari park when they were on a stave day, and remember how much she loved cats of all kinds and sizes.

At breakfast time I will use the china that I bought because it was the same one that she loved and which went all over the world with her. I didn’t want it when she died because I knew I’d be devastated if it got broken, but courtesy of a certain online auction house I have a set of 3 cups, saucers and side plates which I can use and smile about because it’s not for best. And I will be kind to people and interested in them and do my best to live up to her memory.

So RIP Grace Anne Taylor. Much loved. Always remembered. I’m sure by now you have heaven all nicely reorganised and will have been reunited with all the cats you loved so much. I promise I’ll try to make you proud.

Today’s picture is of the Marie Curie memorial daffodils. I only found out about these this spring, but come September I shall be out there with my trowel, because that is how my mum would want to be remembered.


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