I cannot imagine why I chose the Mother's Day period to put Mum's home on the market. Mom lived there for thirty years, the house was sold in three days.
When the buyer called to tell us "the good news" I felt as though the walls of my childhood had been hit by a sledgehammer.
I would lie awake at night and "walk through" the house. I would mentally run my hands over the mantelpiece visualising the family photographs. I would rummage through drawers where her bottle button was kept, a bottle filled with beautiful old hand made buttons from a by gone era, which would entertain my children for hours.
I pictured the tiny wooden desk, inlaid with mother -of - pearl and intricately wrought with different coloured intricately carved woods, the one with the secret drawer that would bring gasps of delight from her grandchildren every time she carefully and theatrically opened it with all its magical memories and treasured contents. A pearl hat pin that had perhaps belonged to Bonnie Prince Charlie's nurse, a peacock feather from the tail of a peacock which used to roam Clementine Churchill's garden !! (?)
Her refrigerator was sparse when we went to clear out the house, her medicine cabinet was however very full.
There behind the bedroom door was that red chenille dressing gown, under which her children would creep when we felt unwell, and under which my children had also crept.
When we went for one last goodbye to her house, our home, the sun streamed in casting out the melancholy that had lingered uninvited through my mother's illness.
There wasn't a single area of the house that was devoid of Mother's attentions. The little tables which she painstakingly tiled with those tiny ceramic off-cuts, the fire-screen in tapestry which she had laboured over with her stiff fingers, the little rugs which she had handmade with love and care.
There is the cupboard where the children played hide and seek, I can see them now, sitting legs tucked in , the heads brushing in anticipation against the soft hems of Mum's home made dresses, confident in this sweet hiding spot.
I remember packing away her things to send to Queen Mary House, scarves folded with military precision, hand knitted jerseys redolent of mothballs or was it perhaps her favourite scent Channel Number 5. Sensible shoes, always.
On opening the creaky front door I can almost hear her voice "Is that you Darling", I can see her bent intently over her crossword, always in that same favourite chair, cup of tea in one hand that ubiquitous cigarette that eventually killed her, in the other. I walk down to the pantry where there used to be rows of mazoe orange bottles that she would make up from the concentrate. Or "Mum's Jam Crumbles" that she made every saturday afternoon for about thirty years.
I could see her weeding, strait legged in the garden, or sitting cross legged on the floor playing monopoly with my children with a monopoly set that had been mine as a child. I could picture her rocking my son and my daughters, patting their backs and singing in a gravelly voice.
Mother had instilled in us love, strength, consistency, endurance and above all honesty, she was so furiously honest that she would never even use a company envelope for her own use.
As I close the door for the last time, all I can say is "Thank you Mom, for everything"
Happy Mothers' Day...............