I was so inspired by savoringsixtyandbeyond‘s post this morning that I am reposting a letter I wrote to my parent’s full of the words I wish I had said to them more when they were alive. I loved them ,we all did and do and they knew that.
Dear Mum and Dad
I don’t think I ever made it clear enough how much I appreciated what you did for me. It is only now as a parent and grandma that I see what you must have gone through.
© willowdot21. Some but not all of the gang
Nine children you had, nine. You lost three but that was never your fault. How did you cope Mum it must have been hard, and Dad worse for you because in those days grieving was not the done thing. I lost three babies too I could not openly grieve either but you knew you silently gave me strength.
I am in awe of how you always managed to feed and dress us all. There was always food on the table and somehow the doors were always open to waifs and strays who needed help. No one was ever turned away from our door without help of some kind. I can remember there being an endless stream of family friends, or distant cousins with problems arriving on our doorstep. Some stayed longer than others but no one was ever turned away. I really don’t know how we all fitted into that three bed roomed terraced council house, it must of been like the TARDIS.
Who helped you, did anyone or did you have to struggle through, learning haphazardly! You, no doubt had to and that is why you were both such helpful parents. I am amazed at the sacrifices you must of made to keep us in clothes, shoes and food.
Dad, you worked as a body maker for LT making seats on the buses and tubes! Off to work at 5am and home at 5pm for dinner then 6pm the BBC News … silence reined! You then spent most of your evenings in the front room either at the table or your desk with your ancient typewriter. You had men and women visiting you , sometimes one sometimes more all coming for help and advice because you were a union rep and congressman for the NUVB ( National Union Of Vehicle Builders). The last visitor was about 10.30pm. At work you were a union rep you gave so much to others and yet you always saved so much for us. When you retired you were tapped out the length of the factory. ( All the men stood by their machines spanner or hamer in hand and tapped you out of the building, a sign of respect. ) You only live a year or so after retirement.
Mum you were such a gentle soul I miss you so, You left your body long before you died and that broke my heart because I could not reach you. I used to bring the boys to see you at the nursing home you spent your last years in… although I loved to see you it hurt that you did not know me and you did not see the boys growing up . I think you missed Dad so much that you left in soul leaving your shell behind.
Mum remember Wimbledon week we had salad every evening because you loved the Tennis , funny thing Mum I can’t stand tennis! 🙂
You have both been gone so long and I miss you both so. I need you here to give me the strength , kindness and love. See even now I am asking for your help. I am so selfish, I was so angry when you died Mum because you were not there to talk to me and help me, do you know it took seven years to accept that you had really gone. Then the flood gates opened.
I have so many wonderful memories of you both. Getting up at 4.30am and sneaking down stairs to find you dad shaving in the kitchen, we would share your breakfast, porridge or boiled egg before you went off to work. Going with you to Chiswick Park on the tube on a Saturday. You would have a haircut while I sat and watched then maybe you would buy me an ice cream. Walking Steve the dog in the park … you always called him Brother …because of your union work no doubt .
Mum you were always there when I came home from school, always played with me , I was the youngest of the family and by a good while so I was almost like an only child but not because everyone else was around but I was too young to join them . I remember you telling me stories and teaching me to knit sew and crochet sadly all of which I am useless at! As I grew you helped me with life and although I never lived that near to you you always came to my aid if I needed you . When our first boy was born premature and unable to breathe you came down to stay with me when P finally came home from hospital. He did not know how to suck so you helped me to spoon feed him until we got him to use a teat. So many many things to thank you for .
Mum and Dad you took all six of us and taught us everything you knew. How to face the world, how to love how to be friendly, caring and honest. I like to think that you are watching over us all and hopefully being proud of us…. well mostly. . I like to think that our beautiful sister Mary is with you both after horrendous illness and death five years ago.
I miss you and I love you !