Topic: All good things come to an end
So my mum is terminal with cancer . She’s beaten in twice, once in the seventies when it was pretty much a death sentence. Both breasts off one then one more recently. She blew a height valve in 2007 and should not really have survived that. True to form she rallied against the odds after a couple of days at which point the consultant said to her
“We can operate but there’s a good chance the operation will kill you”
“What will happen if you don’t?”
“you’ll die anyway”
“well you’d best bloody well get on with it then.”
My wife who was born in 1973 was somewhat wide eyed and awestruck a couple of years ago as my mum talked about going down to the Anderson shelter at the house in Pudsey as the ack ack went up from Rawdon billing. There was a Lancaster factory at Yeadon that was the focus of some attention by the Luftwaffe.
She was born of a kindly father, a watchmaker who was reserved occupation in WW2. He tried volunteering for all three services in 1939 but was turned down by all as his name was on a list. His big thing was making the glider cast offs for the D Day landings something that required precision engineering. I believe the fact that his war service did not involve him being shot at troubled him though.
My Grandmother had some sort of breakdown in the 1920’s. She’d been a flapper or what passed for a flapper in Leeds and had be engaged to someone of wealthy bloke who moved to America when his entreaties towards marriage were refused. What went on in her mind was unfathomable though I know she loved her husband Ronnie and was bereft without him. She was not a good mother however and the family doctor advised my own mum to move away from home when she was 18 as he would not be responsible for the consequences should she stay.
My mum ran away to teacher training college and found a vocation. She became consumed with the need to cram knowledge, learning and skill into young minds. As she approaches death former pupils who have not been in her charge for forty years or more still write to her. Some who went to Oxbridge tell her they owe it all to the grounding she gave them. I am now and always have been very proud of her and wish only that I had been a better son.
To define this in terms of perspective my mum was teaching music in secondary schools in the 1950’s to classrooms festooned with Teddy Boys who’d been sown into their drain pipe trouser by their mothers that morning. Much as she is very Enid Blyton in outlook, she’s a tough edge as well as many have found to their cost. Not Least Bernard Atha, former leader of Leeds City Council. It looks like she’ll beat him to Saint Peters desk which should have Atha concerned as once my mum has had a word he might not get in.
I shall miss her and the world will be poorer for her passing