"When I was a young boy, my dear mother often told me, 'What we experience in life, Billy, depends largely on how we look at it.' At the time I didn't fully understand what she meant, but in later years I discovered her truth.
When my mother died, I cried for over a week and even though I seemed to stop weeping, instead I learned to weep silently whenever I thought about her infinite goodness. When one's mother dies, it leaves a hole within that is like no other; an emotional devoid is created that can only be filled to leave you wholesome once more by acts of love performed in your mother's name and sweet recollections of her words and feelings that helped others she knew.
I wish you a happy Mother's Day Mum and I try to remember all you taught me. One of the first things you taught me was that though people don't always see eye to eye when looking at the same thing, it is their inner feelings about the thing they are looking at that blinds their vision.
When I was a young tearaway, I had two close neighbours from the estate where I lived and each looked at me with different eyes. One saw me as a budding thief who would one day end up in prison whereas another neighbour saw something good in me that she believe would one day come out. In their own way, each neighbour was equally as accurate in their assessment of me at the time.
It wasn't too strange therefore, that I kept out of the way of the one who thought I would end up in prision and instead I befriended the other one; a pensioner widow of failing eyesight. Between fifteen and twenty, I visited her daily without fail across the road on the corner of Fourth Avenue and we chatted away for about an hour. She was a retired school teacher called Mrs Spivy and her daughter Peggy Kitchen lived in the first house of Eighth Avenue with her husband Jack and their son John (the very first young man from the estate ever to get a university place in Oxford). They would also call in daily to check on Mrs Spivy.
I cannot recall exactly what we spoke about each day, but she would never let me go without reminding me that whenever she used to complain about me kicking balls into her garden and would keep them, her late husband would say, 'That Billy Forde will turn out okay, just you wait and see.'
Mrs Spivy eventually went into an old folk's home and I kept in contact with her daughter Peggy via the occasional home visit, the occasional talk I would give to her group at 'St Barnabas Church,' Hightown and the annual exchange of Christmas cards, especially after her husband Jack died.
Then Peggy went off the radar, not helped by a change of address by me and a divorce and we lost eventually lost touch. After extensive inquiries lasting over a year, I eventually found her in an old folk's home on Halifax Road Hightown, but after one visit and the promise of others to come, I'd developed my terminal illness which makes my presence in such places highly dangerous because of my absence of an effective immune system.
My mother taught me that we all have two ways of looking at everyone who touches our lives and comes into our presence. One way will make them look better in our eyes and the other worse. Far, far better to choose the former. My mother taught me the message and Mrs Spivy lived out that message before my very eyes. Thinking of you both, Mum and Mrs Spivy on this most special of all days for mothers of wisdom." William Forde:March 15th, 2015.