In my book, in the thank you section I wrote to mum... "Being youngest of nine I always say in jest that you kept going until you reached perfection, where in reality, the truth is, you had nine of us because your heart was big enough to love us all unconditionally". That statement couldn't be more true! As the youngest of nine, most people say to me "oh, you're the baby, you must have been spoiled?!" and I would always think... No, definitely not... I would always get the 'hand-me-down clothes, the hand-me-down toys etc but when I think about it, I was spoiled. I would not have wanted anyone else's childhood, anyone else's upbringing, I was spoiled, we all where, we had more love, caring, affection and comfort than you could ever wish for. My parents dedicated their lives to loving us. There was times where we didn't have a lot, but never wanted for anything.
My mother was the worrier in the family, whether it be about bills coming in or siblings going out, she would have worried and stressed hugely... my father would always keep a strong head on him and ease her worry even if there was just cause for it. He would always somehow find a way or a solution. I remember years ago we had one of our last holidays in Donegal before my father took sick, we where staying in the usual chalets on the beach (we went there annually mo matter what else was going on) money had started to run dry for them a few days early and we where told we would have to go home 2 days early. on the eve of or new home date we went into the local town Dungloe, filled the car with petrol for the trip home, dad who was not a gambler by any means went into the bookies and put the last of his change on a total outsider on the last race of the day and won enough money to stay the planned duration... as I say, he always found a way!
So when my father passed in October 1997 we where all very concerned as to how mum-the worrier- would deal with it all, but he must have left her his strength because she was amazing... it was heart breaking for her to lose her husband and best friend but she found strength from where the was no strength before. And it was fitting because they shared everything before, so why not his strength! (she got his strength, I got his dodgy back).
When my mother and father met, they had only started courting when my mother had to go to Cambridge in England to get work, my father patiently waited her return for 2 years, writing her everyday and phoning her once a week from the local post office... he waited 2 years then and now since his passing in '97 he waited nearly 17 years, and an hour into what would have been his 80th birthday he was reunited with her after a very hard fought battle of 11 weeks in ICU in both Craigavon hospital and The Royal Hospital in Belfast.
My mother was my biggest supporter and encouraged me to keep pushing my dreams no matter what, she will be sorely missed and there will be forever a void left in my heart for her, but I do know she and my dad will always be with me and always guide me on my path through life. Nothing will ever be the same again without her, I won't get to call her and she can tell me she seen my cakes and loved them, I wont get to visit home to her and for her to make me an awful cup of tea (God love her but it was the only thing she didnt do well) I will forever miss her xx