"I slept much better last night. When I was in pain the previous night and got no sleep, I couldn't stop my thoughts returning to my mother. She was the one who counselled me as a boy and young man when the pain in my legs was often bad and brought tears to my eyes.
When I was young, my mother frequently told me to make the most of every day, as each day could be our last and we wouldn't know it until it had come and gone. Despite the many hardships I know she endured throughout her life, her face was never far from the next smile breaking out and her heart never knew coldness.
Indeed, I never once met a person who spoke badly of her or disliked her. Despite having received a basic education, she was in many ways wise beyond her comprehension. Her knowledge came not from books, but from the observation and experience of life itself. Rarely a day passed by without her issuing a piece of her Irish-spun wisdom to her children.
Dad always had to work over in order to provide more adequately for his large family and would retire to bed shortly after eating an evening meal and having a bath, to store up energy for the next day's hard work down the mines or in the foundry. Mum would then stay up until the late hours darning and ironing to get us off to school the next day. Being the eldest I would be allowed to stay up and talk to her when my younger siblings were in bed. This was a part of the day that I most looked forward to and now treasure most in my memory of childhood years.
I still recall the core of most of mum's stories and sayings though when repeating them today, I may not remember her precise words and often use a few of mine without changing the essence of her message. Being an avid reader for most of my life, I frequently find the essence of many sayings she passed down to me worded from the mouths of great men and women stretching back hundreds of years. I know that she never read such sayings from the pages of scholarly books and can therefore only conclude that whatever wise words a person speaks and groups together in message form, that others will have previously thought, spoken and written long before them. There is no greater proof that original thought is so rare a thing to find that if we come across it, we will never know it.
Since I met my wife Sheila, the last dozen novels I have written and had published have contained the seed of some of the many stories my mother told me during such nights when the rest of the household were in bed fast asleep. Naturally, there was a germ of truth in many of her stories, which she stretched in credibility for her devilment and my pleasure; stories which remain the same in the message though I have also stretched them into print, using artistic licence. These stories come under the umbrella title of 'Tales from Portlaw'(The place of my birth in Ireland) and can be purchased in either e-book or hard book format from www.amazon.com or www.lulu.com All profit from their sales will be given to charitable causes in perpetuity.
As a lasting tribute to my mother and in memory of her life and vivid power of imagination, all twelve of these romantic stories can be freely read on my website by following the link below:
During the past five years of my life, I have been visited by two terminal cancers and have twice had chemotherapy treatment for six-nine months to manage my condition. Such treatment has not been without cost and my worse side effect of the treatment has been a constant pain in my feet and hands which varies from 'very bad' to 'bearable.' Often my sleep pattern is interrupted/broken and my daytime experience made more difficult, but at such times I never allow the pain or my illness to define me or my mood. To do that would be to contravene my mother's advice as a child when a traffic accident left me unable to walk for three years and was to produce rheumatic pains in my legs that lasted a lifetime when eventually I did walk after more than four dozen operations of correction. I paraphrase her words, but her message essentially was, 'Though pain is a constant in your life, always let your positive attitude be a variable.' Love you, Mum. The pain has eased from yesterday and the day ahead seems ever brighter. Your eldest child, Billy." William Forde: August 1st, 2017.