Monday, 20 May 2013

Legacy

Today the Vicar conducted his mother's funeral. As a priest he followed her coffin reciting the promise of resurrection. As a son he spoke of how she would wipe his face with a spit-moistened hankie and accommodate his aversion to greens. And as priest and son he stood with his hand on the coffin and committed his mother to the hereafter.

I gazed at the wooden box that contained the woman who had borne and raised and nurtured and enervated him and I tried to fathom four decades of maternity nailed inside. Then I thought of myself similarly extinguished one day in a casket of pine. And now, suddenly, the mopping of spattered ketchup, the quelling of childish brawls, the tedium of times-tables and the hours on school sports fields seem sacred rituals.

Motherhood is a privilege I too often take for granted. And, equally often, I fear I don't measure up. But, as the Vicar recalls his boyhood, I realise that it does not require glamorous heroics or conspicuous sacrifices. It's the unremarkable routines and the sum of daily gestures that build the legacy. And so, remembering the son bowed over his mother's remains, I vow to shed useless worries about the future and to celebrate the monotony of domestic life. Instead of fretting over school grades and processed foods, I mean to deserve my children by reliably, if imperfectly, Being There, whether in flesh or, when my own time comes, in memory.

35 comments:

  1. Beautiful post, thank you.

    Condolences to your husband.

    xxxx

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  2. How very brave of him to run his mum's funeral. I cannot begin to imagine how hard that was, I found reading at my own mum's hard enough.

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  3. What a beautiful post. I am going to read it a few more time and think about my own 'performance' as a mother. It might be that I am doing something right afger all...

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    1. I'm certain you are. Thank you for your encouraging comment.

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  4. That made me cry Anna and put things sharply into perspective.

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    1. Got cut off on iPad, sorry and I am so sorry, still for your loss.

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    2. Thank you. I don't know how long the effect will last on me before irascibility takes over again!

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  5. Being there for your children is the most important thing, not the possessions you buy for them. Your children will remember the hugs, the tears you wiped, the laughter you shared.

    I am sorry your mother-in-law has passed away, sending prayers.

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    1. Yes, it's fascinating the tiny details that do sum up mothering - things you wouldn't think a child would register, let alone appreciate.

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  6. So very sorry for your family's loss, Anna. What incredible strength it must have taken for your husband to conduct the service. This is a beautiful post; what an important message x

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    1. Thank you. He's a man of great courage. I'm lucky...

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  7. Sorry to hear your sad news.

    I love what you have written here. You are speaking right to me. Motherhood is the so hard and such a privilege. Like all the top jobs. I hope that it is what I am remembered for.

    Love to you and your family.

    BM x

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    1. Motherhood and housekeeping, eh?! Thanks, my dear, for your kind thoughts.

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  8. Precious moments are recognised in surprising ways. Thank you for reminding me. Condolences to you both x

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  9. Oh so very tough for husband, and for you. Glad you got through it and can take so many positive thoughts from a sad situation.

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  10. Again, so sorry to hear of your loss, been wondering how you've been getting on. And I wonder how that was for The Vicar, conducting the service and laying his mother to rest, it feels so poignant though - he entered the world through her, and now he is returning her to a place of comfort and rest - the womb and the afterlife seem so entwined some how. Reading it felt like quiet and extremely heartfelt gratitude. And you are so right, when you hear children talking fondly of their parents, the on thing you might often here is .... they were always there for me. XXX.

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  11. .... oh dear my spelling is very very bad! Hear not here - sorry! :o)

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  12. oh what a beautiful and moving piece of writing. You are quite right, the act of being there is the most important part of parenting. Much love to you and your brave man xx

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    1. Thank you, my love. Can't wait to meet you next month.

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  13. This is a beautiful post. So thankful to Britmums for pointing me in your direction. Congratulations on making the final. Sorry to hear your sad news, what an amazingly strong husband you have. You have reminded us all about the importance of being there for our children and finding enjoyment in the every day. Thank you x

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  14. Being, not doing. It often comes down to that, doesn't it?

    I like how you talk about "celebrating the monotony of domestic life".

    I'm sparing a thought and prayer for the Vicar.

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  15. We are so often frustrated and feel we should be striving for greater things, and then it takes something like this to realise that we are in the midst of the greater things all the time.

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  16. What a beautifully written post, it must have been a very difficult service for you both.

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  17. Nothing like getting smacked in the face by life's frailty to put things in perspective. Thank you.

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    1. No, all thanks to you for dropping by and taking the trouble to comment.

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