"All that I am and ever hope to be, I owe to my mother. While it required both mum and dad to give me life, my mother gave me soul and infused me with the belief that anything is possible if you never disown or disgrace yourself, your background or your God. I was taught to honour all three by my mother. My dad who had been reared during a time when a man's word was his bond added , 'Honour your word' as the fourth commandment of the Forde family. The first three children of the family were born in Southern Ireland and the next four were born in West Yorkshire. As the photo above shows, I have always been bonnier than the next two girls in the chain of command.
Twenty eight years ago today my mother died at the early age of 64 years. Although many of her grand children and great grand children never knew her, they meet her on every occasion that they come across me and my six siblings. Some even see her features daily in the image of their children, though they may not recognize it as readily as myself.
Although a non-academic who left school to work as soon as she entered her early teens, my mum was nevertheless a woman of substance who taught all seven of her children the finest lesson of all; to look out for each other as long as we live. Her education may have been unfinished, but her wisdom and depth of thought was profound and started each of her children in their journey of life along a wholesome road. She was a born story teller or as others may prefer to have described her, 'a teller of tall truths' and I'm sure that my sixty published books are down to her indirect influence.
She always encouraged the honest expression of one's feelings at the moment of their birth. She never thought crying to be unmanly and believed that tears are the raw expression of the bravest of thoughts. Mum also said to think before speaking as one can never retrieve the spoken word nor get back the stone after the throw. One of her nicest pieces of wisdom though was when she told us to walk gently through the world as we are not always aware when we tred upon the fragile feelings of others. She also said that we should know the earth's beauty all the days of our life.
I remember the last time I saw her looking out of the hospital window from her bed in Staincliffe Hospital the day before she died. I had just spent an hour visiting her and said that I'd visit again tomorrow .She was smiling.
My mum wasn't faultless by any stretch of the imagination, but by God she was a good person and a loving mother. I would best descibe her as being a perfect example of how to find oneself and remain happy and content with the person found. Through the very example of her existence, she taught me the two most treasured lessons that any mother could teach her child; how to live and how to die with dignity. Her secret was simple; never keep your love distant from others and always keep a smile close by. I love you mum. I miss you. Your eldest child Billy x" William Forde: April 26th, 2014.