It has now been 7 years since my Mother lost her cancer battle, I have shared her story before, & I will continue to speak her name till my last breath.
This past year, I travelled to South Africa twice to visit my Dad & family - with both daughters accompanying us on the second visit, the youngest on both visits. It was a very special time to be together again as adults, the enjoy their company & feel proud of the wonderful adults they have become.
My Aunt gave me a large collection of photos & documents from my late Grandmother - such a special gift because it contained things I had never seen before & glimpses of their lives that I was not privileged to.
A photo of my Mother her younger brother & much younger sister with my maternal grandfather, a photo I had never seen.
This was my Mother in her early 20’s.
My Mother’s life was inextricably intertwined with that of my Fathers - they spent their lifetime together, married for almost 57 years, devoted to the end ...
This year, we stopped at the sea in South Africa, before heading 1000km north to Johannesburg. My Mother loved the seaside, something Dad & I did not share, & while there, I collected special stones that I loved because I do not get to the family graves in South Africa often enough & the Jewish tradition of ’stones last longer than flowers’ seemed appropriate.
My Parents visited Israel several times & my sister lived there for several years so it was the right way to leave a reminder that we had visited their final resting place.
Stones & shells I choose on a beautiful beach to take 1000 km to the family graves.
My Dad with us at the seaside this past year, Dad & I choose a small selection of stones that I have in my safekeeping for a future time.
My Mother would have been right in there swimming because she was a very competent swimmer.
My Mom & my forever young brother ...
My grandparents & uncle share a space ...
My grandfathers sister that we loved dearly for her eclectic ways ...
I had visited this market In Kwa Zulu Natal with my Mother & so it was appropriate that I would buy some hand beaded proteas from there, a reminder in my home on the other side of the world of flowers they all loved, so it is a reminder that I am part of their history ...
As the person who is passionate about recording our family history & the stories of my ancestors, this is perhaps why I do it - to give them a permanent history
Indeed, if we tell the stories of our past, the departed will never be forgotton. While their name is spoken with great fondness, they will live on, their lives will not be in vain.
A journal Mum, tell me, a give & get back book by Elma van Vliet is a journal with spaces to record wishes, dreams & memories in.
I wish I had asked the questions of my Mother & Grandmother that I really want to know about. I wonder who influenced them the most? What were the hardest things they faced? What were their fears & dreams? What were their proudest moments? What were their biggest regrets or sadnesses? How did they cope with WW11 when both my grandparents served & my Mother & her brother were left to the care of her maternal grandmother & Aunt? I wonder about the sister whose name I know but I never got to meet but they did as they named her ...
Do we really know someone well enough to answer these questions? Do we ask the questions that will lead us to understand a life lived with different choices? Will someone care enough to tell my story when I am no longer here? Will there be a story with my name in it?
This weekend is Mother’s Day / Mothering Sunday here in the UK. It is also the anniversary of my Mothers internment, my birthday & soon the birth & death of a sister I did not know as she lived only briefly - a whole lot of history colliding with bittersweet memories.
To all the other Motherless daughters, we are part of a group that we never wanted to be in so spend time in reflection & give thanks ...
Thank you for your company, stop by again soon,