"There isn't one day that passes when I don't have a few quiet moments in prayer thinking about my mother who died twenty nine years ago last April. Despite many decades having gone by since mum's passing, there still remains a hurt deep inside that no amount of balm will ever soothe. The only consolation is that while death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. My mother was so special in my life that I would feel so bad if I left her just because she was dead. She loved me, she believed in me and by always seeing the best in me, she transformed me.
Between the ages of 17 years and 21 years, I was a volunteer and regular visitor to the Cheshire Homes where I would listen to, talk with and play games with any terminally-ill residents who had no family or other visitors. Little did I realise at the time, what an important role that was towards the end of one's life; not to let a lonely soul die without a visiting friend.
I was always saddened by the death of a good person, but I grew to learn that it is from such sadness that a feeling of gratitude is born. I was honored to have known them and felt blessed that their passing served as a reminder to me that my time on this beautiful earth is also limited and that I should seize the opportunity I have to forgive, share, explore, and love.
I can think of no greater way to honor my mother and all the other deceased I have known than to live this way.
In my many years as a Probation Officer, I witnessed first hand the grief that will not pass between someone and a person they loved and lost. Grief, no matter how you try to cater to its wail, has a way of fading away if you allow time to heal. I have learned that death is never an easy experience when you know the person dying and is even more difficult when it is a close relative and loved one who you refuse to 'let go.'
Beware that your sorrow does not stifle life remaining. It is possible to clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present. I have seen so much deposits of unfinished grief reside in more hearts than is imaginable, due to the bereaved person holding on to past memories at the expense of future happiness and growth. I always told bereaved people with whom I worked, that until we can learn to live with the living, we will never learn to live with the dead.
Though she rarely had the time or inclination to read, along with the task of bringing up seven children, my mother did like the newspaper captions of Winnie the Pooh, whom she would refer to as the male bear with the female name. Winnie once said, 'There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.'
Thinking of you, Mum. I guess they'll have plenty of music in heaven's juke box, but if not, here is one of your old favourites sung by David Whitfield in 1955. Love from your eldest child, Billy xxx" William Forde: June 5th, 2015.