As I had written previously, when my father died and his abusive ways were gone, my mother was lost and alone. She’d stayed faithful and loyal to him, and stood by him, because women just did that. She believed in the sanctity of marriage, yes to her the better and for worse vows she uttered on her wedding day was her bond, and sacred oath. She would sooner have died at my father’s beatings than break her vows to god. My mother was a devout Methodist, although my father was actually an outspoken atheist. But he did have a charisma and charm that seemed to always attract people to him outside the family home. His abusive ways were at least confined behind the red front door of our council house.
As we grew up our Sunday school days
were farther between, yet my mother still went regularly like clockwork as
she had done so many times before.
Then one day and for no apparent reason, everything changed. She’d been to an evangelist meeting with a friend the night before. A Billy Graham type speaker was addressing everyone that night. Now she never did say what he’d spoke off, and she didn’t change her own religion, but that man single-handed had such a profound effect on my mother that she wanted to live life again. Not just live again, but have the life she so desperately needed and yet never had. She started going abroad on coach holidays, France, Holland, Luxembourg and her favourite Brussels. My mother was a transformed outgoing happy go lucky fun loving woman, who was enjoying the company of many friends established through her holidays. Gone were the days of her depressions, her migraines ended like a miracle had occurred, she gained the weight she lost and looked so beautiful and elegant So striking was her metamorphism that gentlemen started taking notice as she walked down the street, and the impish smile returned as a wolf whistle was headed her way by the middle aged window cleaner trying not to get too distracted by her passing.
Yes admirers were
literally coming out of the woodwork, all wanting to take her out to the
theatre or cinema. My mother floated like a butterfly, with the brightest
twinkle in her eyes. And the wickedest smile you ever saw. She was radiant
in every way a joy to be with, and a stunning look of youthfulness
overcame her. To my dismay at times my mother was mistaken for my elder
sister, yet privately this gave me such pride knowing what my mother had
endured before blossoming into the woman she became after that evangelist
meeting, if I’d have known his name I would easily have gone and shook
his hand and said thank you to this powerful speaker.
As her trips abroad grew so too did her circle of friends from all walks of life and from all over the UK, meeting on the coaches and enjoying their holidays together.
It was whilst on one of these trips that she met her final love.
He was a true gentleman in every way, a widower who’s beloved wife had died of cancer. My mother fell so deeply in love. Stirrings she thought were long since gone burned inside her, her passions rekindled as she giggled like a schoolgirl, telling me how sex was wonderful, as though she’d just invented it. My father was always a brutal lover, but her new love was gentle an kind and attentive. Now I thought mum was floating before, well now she flew like an angel, and soared the thermos, so high was this man making her fly. Even her American never gave her such passion. And she told everyone who wanted to listen, which at times, was so embarrassing, yet my mother didn’t care, she was so in love and she wanted all the world to know every last detail including her newest bedroom antics. This was the wonderful woman who was my mother.
After only a few short
months of going out and of course their holidays with the group, they
decided to live together in a lovely bungalow in the next village. I
remember the day they both came to my workshop and they asked my
permission, honestly her gentleman friend wouldn’t have any of it unless
myself and sisters agreed and said it was ok. This was the sort of man he
was. I simply said I’m not my mother’s keeper and she’s old enough
to make her own decisions. I shook his hand and off they went arm in arm,
my mother skipping along on cloud nine. Looked back and winked, and like
some movie starlet threw her stole over her shoulder as she hopped into
her friends open topped car, giggled and off they went down the road, into
the misty haze of the summers evening. My mother was so happy, and it was
this man who had brought her happiness. I liked him too he really was the
They’d been together nearly five years, when I got the phone call from my mother sobbing, her love was in hospital and wanted to see me, and could I come quickly. My heart racing, pounding worrying as to what was so wrong.
When I arrived at the hospital the nurses quickly ushered me to his room, where a priest was performing a ceremony. My heart was in my mouth, was I too late, 101 questions rushing through my mind so fast, the giddiness as the room circled, and the rhythmic beats of my heart was all I could here as blackness descended and I crashed to the floor. I’d got myself in such a state I’d fainted much to everyone’s amusement and my embarrassment.
The priest was indeed there, as were my sisters, my mother and two doctors, and the ceremony. Well it was my mothers wedding. My mothers new love was dying he had a brain tumour, and to ensure my mother inherited the house and his money they’d decided to marry in hospital with the doctors attesting to his sanity. It was a beautiful ceremony with flowers adorning the room. I was so lucky to even know this perfect gentleman I leaned over held his hand and whispered, “Congratulations; dad” He was the only person to ever say “I’m proud of your achievements son” such a wonderful man.
Less than three weeks later he died, and this time I sobbed for a dad I truly loved and admired, and who gave my mother five of the best years of her whole life.
My mother died a few
years later of a broken heart, as everyday she’d walk many miles to put
flowers on his grave and sit and chat for a while, and I do believe he
spoke back to her for she always had that twinkle in her eye and the
impish smile after her visits. I loved both of you so much and one day
we’ll all meet up and walk together into the sunset.
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