Remembering my mother

 

Heart Thumpers

 

A faux brass case of old photographs

None of them good

And yet she kept them

A shopping list

Scrawled and barely legible

But in her hand

A birthday card signed “with love”

A button waiting to be sewn on

A compact that was once beautiful

Her glove

Her handkerchief

Her fragrance

“Heart Thumpers”

It says on the little case

Of photographs

Me squinting into the summer sun

How old could I have been?

Our children at play

Her unsmiling passport photo

All found in the drawer beside her bed

Throw them away, my father said

But I kept them all

The little things that made up her life

Keepsakes in a crystal bowl

That once held her make up

I open it reverently once a year

To smell the fragrance

Of that unforgotten past

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

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Remembering

 I wrote this next poem in 1995, about six months before my mother died.

 Role Reversal

Today, I held my mother

sobbing in my arms

Stroking her soft,  fine hair

Her chin nuzzled on my chest

And I could smell

the unforgotten fragrance

of her skin

I held her close

as I have held my children

and felt the frailty of her age

How odd and imperceptibly

the tables turn

And those that you have leaned on

lean on you

Those that you had turned to

turn to you

Now she is the child

And I am the mother

MUM AND DAD BEFORE THEY WERE ENGAGED. LATE 1920S? THEY WERE MARRIED IN 1936.SONY DSCmum

In memory of Freda Hetty Finn.  Born London, December 13 1910. Died 6 March 1996.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Thoughts on Mother’s Day – 6 March 2016

Mother’s Day has come round again.

It is especially poignant for me this year as it falls upon the day that my own mother died – twenty years ago today.

How I wish I could tell her about all the good things that have happened in my life. Especially that – were she alive today – she would now have five great grandchildren.

The last of these, a baby girl, was born only two weeks ago. Our first granddaughter after four grandsons!

Welcome to the world – Lily Hetty Ross.

LILY BLOG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I make no apologies for reposting this poem I wrote for Mother’s Day last year:

 

Every Day is Mother’s Day

First smile, first laugh, first sweet embrace

The tender way they touch your face

Every day is mother’s day

 

First sit, first crawl, first tooth, first walk

The joy when they begin to talk

Every day is mother’s day 

 

The fun when they begin to play

The cries when they don’t get their way

Every day is mother’s day

 

The day they start to question why

And ask what happens when you die

Every day is mother’s day 

 

The climbs, the falls, the hurts, the tears

As they learn to overcome their fears

Every day is mother’s day

 

The very first day you’re on your own

You take them to school, come home alone

Every day is mother’s day

The very first time they stay out late

And you remember your first date

Every day is mother’s day

 

And then one day you’re on your own

They’ve fled the nest, the kids have gone

Every day is mother’s day

 

The love, the joy, the guilt, the pain

The more you give, the more you gain.

You know you’d do it all again

Every day is mother’s day.

20160103_180949 for blog

© Andrea Neidle

My Life in Poems


Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day here in the UK.

I’ve added two new verses and some old (and new) family photos to the poem I wrote last year.

Do let me know what you think.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Every Day is Mother’s Day

First smile, first laugh, first sweet embrace

The tender way they touch your face

Every day is mother’s day

 

First sit, first crawl, first tooth, first walk

The joy when they begin to talk

Every day is mother’s day 

Every Day is Mother's Day

The fun when they begin to play

The cries when they don’t get their way

Every day is mother’s day

 

The day they start to question why

And ask what happens when you die

Every day is mother’s day 

FOR BLOG NOW

The climbs, the falls, the hurts, the tears

As they learn to overcome their fears

Every day is mother’s day

The very first day you’re on your own

You take them to school, come home alone

Every day is mother’s day


The very first time they stay out late

And you remember your first date

Every day is mother’s day

BLOG TODAY

And then one day you’re on your own

They’ve fled the nest, the kids have gone

Every day is mother’s day


The love, the joy, the guilt, the pain

The more you give, the more you gain.

You know you’d do it all again

Every day is mother’s day.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Memorial

March 6 

It has come round again.

It is Friday night

And I light the Sabbath candles

in the candlesticks

that once belonged to her

It has come round again.

I remember her voice

her smile, her kiss

When I hold our grandchildren

I wonder

was she like this with me

It has come round again.

None of us can remember

those first years

No film to help us

No one to ask

They have all gone

I know that I was loved

And that has to do.

It has come round again.

Our memorial candles

are all used up

And we hunt one down in Tesco

Now the Yahrzeit candle can be lit

Now she can be remembered

As if I ever forget

Me at 15 months with my mother

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Poem for Mother’s Day

 

Every Day is Mother’s Day

 

First smile, first laugh, first sweet embrace

The tender way they touch your face

Every day is mother’s day

 

First sit, first crawl, first tooth, first walk

The joy when they begin to talk

Every day is mother’s day

 

The fun when they begin to play

The cries when they don’t get their way

Every day is mother’s day

 

The day they start to question why

And ask what happens when you die

Every day is mother’s day

 

The climbs, the falls, the hurts, the tears

As they learn to overcome their fears

Every day is mother’s day

 

The very first day you’re on your own

You take them to school, come home alone

Every day is mother’s day

 

The very first time they stay out late

And you remember your first date

Every day is mother’s day

 

The love, the joy, the guilt, the pain

The more you give, the more you gain

Every day is mother’s day

Every Day is Mother's Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

 


The Queen sends her condolences

Today would have been my father’s birthday. He and my mother were close to celebrating 60 years of marriage when she died in 1996.

I must be one of the few people in the country to have received a letter of condolence from Buckingham Palace! I had arranged for my parents to receive the customary congratulatory card from the Queen but then cancelled it when my mother died.

So my dad never knew. But he probably wouldn’t have wanted any reminders.

I was remembering how – only a couple of days after my mother died – my father was quite insistent that I came to their home and cleared out all her things.

I realise now that this was not because he did not love her but because he loved her so much.

Remembering

After my mother died

My father did not want

Anything of hers

And asked me to

Clear it all away

He also removed all photographs.

We each have our way

Of grieving

And I did not ask or question

But emptied her drawers

Of the little there was

And stuffed black bags

With her clothes

and gave them to

Her grateful cleaner

Who hauled them behind her

down the street.

All that my mother

Had hoarded

So neatly

So scrupulously

Over all the years

I threw it all away

Strings and ribbons

Wrapping paper

Elastic bands

And carrier bags

All the detritus of life

I kept the knife

She had used

To cut the cakes she baked

And the secateurs she used

To prune the flowers she

Grew so lovingly.

And then

At the back of

A kitchen drawer

There was a paper bag

Inside were seeds

Of what I didn’t know

But put them in my pocket

To take home.

Now every year

A sweet pea blooms

In the corner of our garden

A fragrant reminder

Of my lovely mum.

My mother

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems