Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Legacy!

A more serious subject today but not necessarily a downbeat one.  I am one of the baby boomers.  I was also one of the "sandwich generation" that is, for a time, taking care of parents and children.  You never think this challenging period will ever to an end but of course it does.

I feel that holiday periods particularly festive ones and bank holidays can be difficult as these are the times when elderly members of the family shared these occasions.  Certainly this was the case this Easter, as my mother, who would enjoy these events,  sadly passed away 2 years ago on the 5th April.  She was one month short of her 83rd birthday.
Mum at 80

At these holiday times you can't help but reflect on past times when everyone was together.  Not to say that these times were always calm - they could be challenging as mum had a very strong personality and very firm views and standards. I sometimes felt that her advice was more of an instruction and if I didn't follow - I felt like the disobedient child. We talk about some of these moments now with great affection and humour.  We tend to think of our parents as a very different generation and that their outlook on life is not ours.........and then as the years go by we start to realise that we are presenting behaviours which are oh so similar.

Here is a photo of mum's garden which she maintained herself until her illness took hold.

 We weren't allowed to walk on this lawn.  My children have fond and amusing memories of her legendary expanse of grass as they thought that not being able to walk on it was the norm!

Mum had a very strong work ethic which she instilled in her children!  She was a perfectionist in terms of her dress, her house, her garden almost to the point of being compulsive obsessive.  She always had a "project",  some objective which made her feel she was achieving - it was something to attain. When dad was alive they loved to discuss what next - the new plan.

This energy and drive continued until about 2 years before her death when some niggling little things she had identified in terms of her health, came together with a diagnosis of motor neurone disease which robbed her of all sense of direction.  All diseases are cruel and certainly this one was very hard to observe because you realise there isn't a cure and when you are caring for someone who has been so active the frustration is palpable.

I like to feel that she lives on in us in terms of our DNA, our values and philosophy. I don't think my brother and I share her exacting standards to the same degree but we recognise the traits and we are grateful for the discipline she and my late father instilled in us and made us what and who we are.

We all have a legacy.  I wonder how our children will think of our generation in years to come.........................

Our grateful thanks to St Lukes Hospice, Harrow