Walk Through The Pain

So let me be brief…

On the 29th of November 2017, my amazing Mum died peacefully at home. On the 12th December 2017, we said goodbye & celebrated her life.

On that hardest of days, I had the almost overwhelming privilege of standing in front of her Family & Friends to speak about her. Afterwards, I was told what seemed like too many times that what I had said was “perfect”, “well done, you made that look easy” or “you did your mum proud”

Some suggested I share it or send it to them… so after consideration, I am going post those words below & unedited.

*If I have mentioned you by name & you are uncomfortable with this, please don’t hesitate to contact me & I will happily remove the reference to you.*

Thanks,

Alex xxx

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*Walk Through The Pain*

 “My Heart was Broken. You saw it. You Claimed it…You Touched it… I’ll thank him for His Work & Your Birth…”

 

  • Firstly, thank you all for coming here today – sharing in this Celebration & Farewell to our Mum.

 

  • Secondly, you have already heard today how she touched so many lives in her short, but full almost 67 years of walking the streets of her world. I could stand here & tell you stories about our mum, memories or childhood remembrances. But I’m sure everyone who met her, be that online or in day to day life will have a story to tell. As Lauren & Kiri-Louise over there know all too well, I’m currently slightly obsessed with a certain stage musical, one of the main themes that it raises & that resonates so loudly especially at this time is “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?” Our mum loved surrounding herself with people to hear them share their lives. So please when you go from here after saying Good-Bye to Christine I encourage you to share, to tell your stories.

 

  • Thirdly, there should be some sentiment to say at this point, some magical phrase that would hopefully make this day & all that follow pass more easily. But having sat staring at several screens, over many days unsurprisingly there isn’t.

 

However, our Mum was a fan of reading books & probably in her time read most of them! Or at least that’s how it seemed! This influence filtered down the generations from this Alex to my Alexander & to his Sophie & Noah; as well everyone in between.

 

So with that in mind & a hat tip to Christine along the way, a quote or two:

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.”

 &

 “You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?”

 

The light in the darkness… enough said really that was our Mum. She brought light to many dark times just by being there & waiting for us to see that there was a way forward past our troubles. So today is not a dark troubled time, it is a bright yellow summer’s day with the bluest of skies. Those were her best days in many ways.

Today please if you can, take a moment to celebrate as well as commiserate.

 

Inevitably these past weeks have lead to reflection on our Mum’s life, influences & even the odd revelation! We sometimes forget what is important all too often…

At this point a little before the revelation, it’s important to me as well as my brothers that we touch on the influences.

Our Mum, particularly after 1959 upon returning from Canada to Scotland; was in her own words “brought up by committee.” Not a complaint in any way at all. Though I’m sure it was difficult at times to get permission to do certain things especially in her teenage years! The thing that shines through from her childhood is that she was surrounded by the love of family. Especially when that committee was made up of amongst others Aunties May & Isa. And Uncles John & Joe.

My mum was technically an only child but in reality throughout her childhood she had brothers & sisters that she clearly adored & who adored her. Auntie May brought her cousins Isobel, William, & Anne into her life. Auntie Isa left her Ann & Garry to grow up alongside.

Then in 1971, thanks to our Dad she gained 3 more brothers & 4 more sisters in Sally, Eleanor, Walter, Carol, Myra, Graham & Scott; along with their wives, husbands & in time so many cousins!

 

Because of this committee as well as her Brothers & Sisters, Family was at the centre of everything she did. Very obviously to us at least, Family wasn’t defined by biology. Our Mum was very clear through her example that family was made up of those who we cared for & loved. Be that if you shared DNA with a Taylor, a Thomson or none at all. No-one was 2nd best, all were equally loved if they wished to share in her Family.

 

The clearest example of that being Auntie Annabell & Uncle Michael along with their children, our 4 cousins. The bonds she created there are just as strong as any DNA.

 

If you were important to her Children, & in time her Grandchildren then you were her Son, Daughter, or Grandchild. Christine didn’t say it, it just was, no questions asked.

She was your Auntie, Mother, Grandmother or Great-Grandmother.

At the end of her life, beyond the biology, she had so many family that cared for her as deeply as she cared for them. So thanks to Kevin, Lauren, Wil, Lynsey, Claire, Matthew, Hannah & Sophie, for bringing our Mum, the joy of allowing her to call you Son, Daughter, Grandchild or Great-Grandchild.

 

Now at this point, My Family in the front here are beginning to shuffle in their seats & give me that stare…

I promised I wouldn’t go on forever. So let’s keep my promise.

 

Our Mum had a phrase she used infrequently but again showed by actions each & every day right up to the very end. My Brothers & I felt it was important that we acknowledge this as it was clearly her mantra whether she intended it to be or not.

 

“Walk Through The Pain”

 Through all she did in life this was meant literally as well as a way of telling us all that things were never as bad as they seemed & that someone was always worse off. That in time the pain would subside even if it never completely left you. Our Mum rarely mentioned her physical pain that she lived with most of her life. I guess because it was as much a part of her character as what we all saw each & every day in all she said or did.

In the last few months of her life, this was what kept her going forward. The pain was acknowledged but then she would walk on through & she’d look to what’s next. She made sure what was to come was as easy for us as possible. For our Mum, her pain was irrelevant when compared to what was next for us as she left behind her pain. Christine was as human as the rest of us here, but through my biased eyes, she was a little less selfish than most. That’s the indelible mark she left on the world she walked through. I’d like to think everyone here & who met her in life no doubt knows what mark she left on them.

 

So quickly to the revelation, I hadn’t forgotten! For a moment indulge me, please.

It sneaked up on me as I wrote what I wanted to say today.

My Mum left me a lesson & I very briefly want to share it:

 

“Drive Yourself Forward…Always. Acknowledge the Past & Learn from it. Then Don’t Look Back & Drive Yourself Forward”

 

It’s what Christine did every day. Never stopping in her life, walking through pain & forever looking forward to the next thing.

 

Let us leave you with some final book quotes that many of us have been saying & thinking as we spent time with Christine in this last few weeks:

 

“…love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign… to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.”

&

“..To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

 

So Mum here’s to your next great adventure free from life’s’ worries & I know that all your Family feel your Love & Protection for all our time walking the Streets of our lives .

 

Finally I promise! Christmas was our Mum’s favourite time of the year. Which was very obvious to anyone who visited her home in December especially on Christmas Day!

 

So for our Mum & from our Mum may I wish you all “A Merry Christmas”

 

Thank-You

Post from Our Past

I originally wrote this post 8yrs ago, in a long neglected blog & for some reason, probably relates to recent circumstances, has popped back into my head.

So my 1st post is an old post. The hardest thing I’ve ever written publicly…Unedited as originally posted..

@Home
@Me

Friday, 23 January 2009

There are NO Words?

This blog, is probably the hardest thing I have ever publically written:

There are no words

(This blog entry has evolved over the last 4hrs {I kept walking away from it!} as I have written it has gone from something that was mine –so I thought- into something bigger than me… It is – what it is) No apologies if it seems incoherent but, I make less sense than God!

My #1 Son is 17 today, almost to the minute as I begin writing this in fact!

He was born at fourteen minutes past one in the morning, on Thursday 23rd January 1992. When I saw him for the 1st time, well there are no words to describe the emotions & level of love, that I felt in those seconds & minutes that followed, for him & my then wife.

A lot of time has passed since then, a lot of life for him, & my 2 other children (his younger brother & sister) as well as me, has been lived since then. Not all of it good, not all of it easy, & some of it, more than children should have to witness or endure! Separation & divorce can be messy. There are no words to describe the pangs of pain I feel, when I, somewhat inevitably, look back over some of it.

The detail is unimportant & perhaps for some would be unfair/unpalatable to be aired so publically. The past is important, but only as a starting place for our future (for what is to come). We should learn from it & acknowledge it. But never carry it with us as ammunition or baggage. There are no words that could explain how hard that is to do sometimes. (Especially if, at the time, that is what is being done to you)

As a Dad, I haven’t always got it right & sometimes got it really badly wrong! (Especially in that “past”) But I can (mostly) accept that & (mostly) forgive myself. This is because my 3 weans (kids) have told me that its ok, there’s nothing to forgive & that I’m a good Dad really! (They’re teenagers!)

Ok, I realise I was going to go on & on trying to explain more, without giving details.

But that is firstly, fruitless & superfluous.

Secondly, completely impossible without being public & personal.

Thirdly, oh so, a BIG mistake!

Those paragraphs are deleted & gone, as well as any obviously personal details. (before being published)

The long & the short of it becomes this then:

As a parent, it becomes hard to accept, as your children become more independent:

That a lot of the time you will be a bystander & a supporter standing on the sidelines, in their life. Now I can live with & adapt to that. But you also have to be, I think, sure in yourself (as a good parent) that in reaching that point that you’re now, in the majority a supporter/bystander, has come at the right age? For my parents I reckon it came when I was 18 (they might argue otherwise). But for every child & parent it will be different & in there lies my dilemma & possibly my reason for creating this blog entry…

I (as well as other family members & friends) haven’t really seen my #1 son, much since May 2008. He kind of (quite unexpectedly) drifted away. From then until now we have come across each other maybe on average 2 times a month (that’s about 16 times) Sometimes its been for seconds or minutes on a bus – sometimes its been for most of a day, like at parents on Christmas Day. Sometimes I know where he is staying (usually when he’s at his Mum’s) but most of the time no-one does & that is extremely hard.

I can understand, he feels he is ready to face this world alone & maybe, I concede, he is right. But not perhaps, if those who were important supporters (on whatever scale) in his life, before May last year are all now bystanders.

I don’t want to make this blog entry – inappropriate, publically humiliating & misguided – so I wont (& wouldn’t)

I have realised why this blog entry exists, because my eldest son is 17 today & that has made me think about this situation in a different way that, I perhaps have been avoiding. Its called giving it all to God (My biggest supporter). Something I now must do…

So, I want others to know that, I believe, everything in life happens for a reason. There are no coincidences only ‘God-instances’. I have faith & believe that God will be there in all the good & bad times of my life. But God is there acting in all our lives you just have to look to see his effect in your world (He’s your biggest supporter). That’s where faith comes in…

I have just remembered this: A handful of years ago, a man who I had only met a few days before (& haven’t seen since) came & sat beside me. He didn’t know much about me other than; We were on the same course, both went to church in The Salvation Army, & that he needed to talk to me! We had a long conversation (most of which I now don’t remember) at a point in the course when we had the afternoon off. So instead of spending a summers afternoon with his wife he spent it with me! But I needed it & God had told him so! Most of what he said that afternoon, has long since faded… But the line that lived with me was (is) “Let Go-Let God”. Easily said & with enough faith equally easily done…

I don’t always have enough faith (FYI! Christians are human!) so letting go of a struggle or hurt isn’t always 1st thing on the agenda all the time! Plus God gave everyone free-will, that can make things a bit complicated & messy at times! I suppose that’s what my #1 son is expressing at the moment – so as much as I don’t like his choices in life & the effect that has… I have got to trust God.

God is always there in my son’s life waiting for him to see that what he has planned out is nowhere as fantastic, compared to God’s life plan for him! That realisation for my son may come tomorrow, next year or never…

Let Go-Let God… Because I must! I cannot live my son’s life for him – that would be a massive mistake – he needs to find his way. I can be a supporter only if he wants me to be. So for now I remain a bystander to my precious precious son. I may not always be comfortable with that, but I don’t remain the only supporter. My family & friends are supporters too & will be there for him when/if he is ready. Above all that is his biggest supporter of all – God.

So… happy 17th Birthday to my #1 son (as in 1st born) & I pray you know that your supporters are here for you.. Thank you God for being there for him, even if perhaps your unwanted. I may worry about ‘my boy’ but hey I’m Dad… but I worry a lot less because God’s on my side & supporting me & my son (I wouldn’t want to be on the other team!)

Some people may think this blog entry to be misplaced & should have remained unwritten. Perhaps your right & your very entitled to that opinion. But I didn’t set out to write this, at all, or in the way it turned out…

It is-what it is. I don’t understand why – something had to be said & apparently its been said here. Take from it what you will. I ask for your prayers & understanding.

Trust me pressing publish for this blog entry is not taken easily or lightly at all ~ so be gentle?

Its now after 5 in the morning so I concede & retire for a few hours sleep…

~ A xxx