In the Church Calendar, the Sunday before Palm Sunday is “Mothering Sunday”. This year I think the day will feel bittersweet for me – neither of my girls can get home for the weekend – and March 2011 marked 20 years since my Mum died [and 25 since we lost Bob’s mother] Every year since 1991, I have been involved in helping children make Mothering Sunday cards for other mothers – but not been able to send one to a Mum myself.
My Mum was wonderful – here she is in 1956, with Dad [and me] outside the Manse in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire. She was the quintessential ‘traditional’ Pastor’s Wife, despite increasing bad health and disability.
I have received a beautiful card from Steph this year – a lovely cut paper greeting [she knows I prefer ‘Mothering Sunday’ to ‘Mothers’ Day] with a special handwritten message inside.
I found myself wondering what I would put in a card to my Mum if I sent her one today. Or if I were to write her a letter, telling her that so much has happened in the twenty years since she went…
I still miss you – some days, I long to pick up the phone and share something. I want to tell you how many of those prayers which you prayed so faithfully each day have been answered, and God has been so gracious…
Bob is still the wonderful husband he was then – and each day we thank God for our happy, loving marriage. Serving Him together is a great privilege, and we frequently reflect on all that you and Dad taught us as we watched your ministry.
Those two little girls- Liz and Steph, have grown into fine women. They both did so well at University – and have continued to study and learn – something you always encouraged them to do. They have each found a good, loving, caring man, and are building their lives in London.
Liz still loves animals. In 1991 she wrote to Jim’ll Fix It to ask him to get her a pony. The day before you died, I remember you said “Has Jimmy Saville written back about her pony? I hope he does” – Jim didn’t reply, Mum – but right now she is working for an equine charity during the week, and volunteering at Battersea every weekend.
Steph is as gregarious as ever – you used to watch her playing so patiently with other, younger children, ad commented on her thoughtfulness. She’s done a stint with the street children in Brazil, and visited Malawi with Unicef.
You’d be so proud of them both.
I am still working part-time as a Supply Teacher. And yes Mum, I do struggle sometimes to balance home life, church life, and supplementing the family income – but it all comes together really well [most of the time!]
You were concerned about Adrian, praying he would find a good wife. He has – and it’s over 18 years since he married Marion - they are both busy working for the NHS and very involved in the church at Dereham, and your third grand-daughter- Lucy – is 16 now [and also horse-mad!]
You were thrilled when I became a Pastor’s wife, and encouraged me [as you had done] to be involved in BMMWF [the Wives’ Fellowship]. Before you died, you knew I’d been asked to serve on the Executive – for a while I was National Secretary, and suggested changing the original cumbersome name to Connexion. And in 2005 I was heavily involved in the Women’s World Conference in Birmingham. I am off Exec now, but still on the National Committee – next year will mark 25 years of doing one job or another with the fellowship.
There was just ONE thing that really caused you anxiety – following the housing difficulties which you and Dad had experienced in retirement, you worried that we too might be without security when Bob left the Pastorate. You often told me that you were praying for God to work a miracle, because you didn’t have any property to leave us.
Mum, this is the thing that I want to tell you more than anything, we DO have somewhere – God HAS provided us with a home for our old age.
I so wish I could show you round our wonderful bungalow, just a few miles up the road from the Manse in Norfolk, where you lived for so long. You would be thrilled to see it, to know that even now we are being blessed through spending time there.
“Cornerstones” IS a miracle, beyond anything we have ever dreamed. How I’d love it if you could come and enjoy it with us.
I don’t know what heaven is like. I do believe you and Dad have been re-united, and together have heard Jesus say “Well done, good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of your Lord” I do believe you no longer have pain, and have all the breath you need, to sing and dance and praise Him. I know that one day, we’ll join you.
But today, Mum, I am missing you so much. I want to share all these good things with you, to let you know it’s all OK, that God is still answering your prayers for your children – and your grandchildren. I want to thank you for all you taught me – and for most of all helping me to know and understand God’s love and faithfulness. I will never forget all your love, your joy, your prayers, and your faith…which you shared with everyone you met.
Thank you Mum – for everything you gave me. May God give me the grace to be as loving and faithful a wife, mother and friend as you were.
Your Ang x