This is one that I suspect will take more than one sitting. I find it really hard to think of Mum as a woman of faith because although she was and I knew she was, it’s only really since her death that I’ve recognised the things she did in the name of her faith.
- Sue believed in an active, real, present, speaking, healing, powerful, life changing God.
- She believed that he knew what He was doing with her life – she often used the phrase ‘God knows’ when talking to people about uncertainty.
- Sue was generous with all that she had, particularly her gifts and her time and where she could her money.
- She believed that reading his word helped have more a relationship with Him
- She was committed to church even when the people drove her NUTS (thankfully it had been a good few years since this had been the case!)
- She put others before herself, particularly children and us as teenagers taking on our youth group to ensure we were taught despite hating doing it
- She was faithful
- She was grateful
- She rarely moaned
And the crazy thing is that when you look back over the years of illness and much time bed bound or HUGELY limited in what she could do and how long she could do it, of moving around churches when she was settled and happy for Dad’s worth and for loss that she had to deal with in her life she STILL had the faith listed above and probably more that I’ve yet to even think of… perhaps I shall go back and label this one PART ONE.
Mum was known as Grandma while she was alive. We recently made the decision to change it Granny or Granny Sue. We found that when we talked about Grandma or Grandma Sue, Zac would still think we talking about Ross’ mum Grandma and we wanted her to be defined because she LOVED being a Grandma.
When Mum died for ages on my mental to do list was to write down for Zac what Granny Sue did for him and with him as he won’t remember it himself. For a long time it was too painful, then it just kept slipping my mind so I never got round to it.
Some words to describe Mum as Grandma. Over bearing, in your face, over eager, over enthusiatic and potential spoilt brat creator OR generous, hands on, willing, loving, excited, caring, interactive, responsive and communicative. It would swing between the two different feelings to be honest but the old Zac got the more I was glad that she was interactive as much as she was with him.
Mum loved Zac. Zac love Mum. Simple as. He didn’t care what she gave him or anything like that he just knew this lovely lady would try up, try and interactive with him too quickly (bless them both!!) and then play with him as much as she possibly could and as much as he could possibly want. He would love to explore with her and hold her hand and she would love to take him anywhere she could go with him.
I loved the gifts she turned up with. The odd tshirt she’d have found in the sale somewhere or that she couldn’t resist. Toys she’d seen that she thought he would love and she was often very right. Tool kits, cars and trucks and all sorts of baby toys.
She created a good excuse for spoiling him with baby toys. In the 5 weeks she looked after him while I went back to work she could take him into Nottingham city centre on one of the three days. We’d come from work and there’d a be a new toys because she ‘forgot’ to take a toy into town with her!! He loved it and now Sully is seeing the benefits too!
On the note of going into town that’s where mum would feed him up on carrot cake, particularly the icing I think. I remember the Health Visitor asking me if Zac was getting a balanced diet and responding that he was from me but I couldn’t guarantee it from Grandma!
She was so keen for Zac to start walking and talking and excited for all the things they were going to do together and I often find my heart is actually heaviest when I mourn my mum as Grandma for all the things she’s missing and all the things that my boys (and me) are missing out of from her.
She was generous with her time and money and love and hugs and was always sorry that she couldn’t give more than she did despite giving so much.
Sue as a Grandma had a HUGE heart and I know for a fact that she would be loving having two Grandsons to play with. In fact I think she’d have been really torn between having little baby hugs and wanting to explore and play with Zac.
I’ve been thinking about my memories of my mum quite a bit as I’ve been processing the anniversary of her death. As I’ve been doing that I’ve realised that many of my memories of her divid into different groups. Her as my mum, as grandma to Zac, as she was to everyone else and as a woman of faith. I suspect the last two can’t really be divided up but there’s thoughts I’ve decided to try and write down and it’s easiest to breakdown the thoughts. So these are my memories of her as my mum.
It’s been a year since my mum, Sue, died. It was very quickly after her death that who she was started to change as people shared their memories and thoughts about her. She became a different woman. BUT I have also tried to remember how she was to me. I’ve not wanted to have rose tinted glasses in my memory of her. I want to remember her as real. As how our relationship was to me not how it was to others.
The simple fact of the matter was that for MANY years my mum drove me mad! Bear with me on this. It’s not that I didn’t love her and I look back now and see what she was doing and can appreciate much of it more now that I am a mum BUT she drove me mad.
As a child I remember finding it hard that she wasn’t well. That wasn’t her fault and I do remember appreciating that she was around in the school holidays and when I wasn’t well. I can think of many occasions when I lay on her bed with my head on stomach when I was ill listening to her tummy gurgle and finding it funny! I also remember hating being different because it was dad that took me to school and not my mum like everyone else. It wasn’t her fault but as a child that’s not the way you see it.
Mum wanted to know my friends and would hang around with me and them – I particularly remember this from summer camps when I’d lament that she wouldn’t just spend time with her friends! I often felt that I didn’t have the space to be me when she was around. Who knows if that was because the me I wanted to be in those days wasn’t a mum appropriate me or if it was just that it wasn’t a me I wanted to share with her?! But that wasn’t her fault.
I look back now and I so appreciated all that she did for our wedding but at the time I remember feeling like I just wanted to buy a dress not have one made by mum. I just wanted a wedding cake that was order and not made by mum. I think it went back to having a lot of mum-made things when I was younger and it linking in with knowing we had no money and being bullied at school (even if it wasn’t specifically for the things she made). It’s funny how our brains link things together and it’s only when we look back that we can see things clearly and that the hours she put into our wedding were a massive sacrifice for her.
Don’t get me started on when I was pregnant, one day she put her hand on my bump, something no one but Ross had ever done, and I don’t remember what I said but i remember her response being about it being her Grandchild and me saying it’s my body. I think because years of infertility had sometimes been made harder because of her stories about other peoples babies or people becoming grandparents I shut down to her at times. That makes me sad.
I’ve often thought that things started to get better when I had Zac but actually it was about 9 months before that when she came to stay while Dad was away and helped me paint our bedroom. I don’t know why things started to change but they did. -I probably grew up a bit!!
For the 18 months between Zac being born and mum dying things vastly improved. It would often be her that reassured me after Zac hadn’t gained weight properly and who pointed out that they left me to ‘cry it out’ did I remember it?! She helped with me going back to work for my 3 months notice period, ALWAYS followed Zac’s routine knowing that I had the best understanding of Zac and just generally encouraged and helped.
So for me, my memories of her as a mum are so mixed. There are a lot of happy memories mixed in with a lot of frustrations as I was growing up. But my memories end on a positive. Mum was a mum who wanted to know her children and wanted to help. She said to me the last time I saw her that she wished she was one of those mums who could do more, particularly financial but actually in the last 18 months of her life, I can see just what a good mum she was and as I look back over the whole of my life I can see it was there just unappreciated.