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Mum RIP

This is the post I knew I was going to have to make soon, and have been dreading. I hope my regular readers will forgive me a personal post in the middle of one of the worst fortnights of my life.

Mum_n_DadOn April 14th 2015 my lovely Mum Kathy Prince, wife to my Dad Laurie for almost 70 years, passed away peacefully in her sleep after suffering declining health for several months now.

This is my favourite photograph of her, and the one I see every day in my lounge. A fun-loving, attractive and stylish lady, this is how she’d like to be remembered.

As well as being a much loved Wife, Mother, Grandma and Great-grandma, my Mum had many sides to her life that were easy to miss – until we pulled them all together for the Eulogy that will be spoken at her funeral on Friday.

Here are some of the highlights.

In the 1939-1945 war Mum:

  • Played the piano for the forces canteen
  • Worked in Appleby Frodingham steelworks on a comptometer, calculating specifications for the hulls of warships
  • Less successfully she started knitting a scarf for the servicemen – but the war finished first!

During those war years she met and fell in love with my Dad who was working for the war effort in the engineering department at the same steelworks.

They were married in December 1945 – but only after Mum had delivered her usual round of daily newspapers on her bicycle for her parents’ newsagency business!

In 1950 Mum and Dad moved to a newsagency business in Bridlington, first as tenants – but they were such a successful team that they were able to buy the premises and business after just 4 years.

When they finally retired from the long hours of the newsagency trade they didn’t settle to the quiet life, so they bought a jeweller’s business and made a success of that too – until they finally sold it after 10 years trading.

Mum loved all things musical, and was very talented. As well as playing the piano in the forces canteen….

  • She loved ballroom and Latin American dancing, passing exams to a professional standard and winning several competitions. Her gorgeous dresses were the stuff of dreams for me as a little girl.
  • She was an accomplished accordion player and often entertained family and friends at parties (with me hiding upstairs listening, long after I was supposed to be in bed asleep)
  • Having retired from both shops, Mum played her keyboard at local hotels and nursing homes, in return for donations to charity, and Dad was her “roadie”! Often my sons were co-opted (or bribed!) to sing and delight the “old-folk” (who were occasionally younger than Mum and Dad).

Mum was also a well respected member of the local community and worked tirelessly for Bridlington charities for very many years.

  • She served for many years in the local branch of Soroptimist International, a world-wide volunteer service organization for business and professional women. SI works to improve the lives of girls and women, locally and world-wide. She was president of her local branch of SI in the 1970s and continued as an active “Senior Soroptimist” until very recently.
  • Also in the 70s my Dad was elected as an Independent local councillor for Bridlington, and when he became Deputy Mayor, Mum served as Deputy Mayoress.
  • For many years she worked tirelessly for the Bridlington League of Hospital Friends and in October 2014, during a long stay in the hospital she had championed even before it opened, she was presented with a “Long Service Certificate” in recognition of 59 years of voluntary service.

Looking back on this record I marvel that Mum was so involved with all her service roles yet STILL found time to be, first and foremost, a generous and loving Mum, always ready to test my sister and I on homework, attend all school events (sometimes in outrageous hats!), while still being actively involved in the family business.

Yet she managed it all so well that we hardly even noticed all the other duties she carried out alongside her main role as Mum and Wife. She was also a loving daughter to her own parents – the original source of our family business.

Mum kept her brain sharp with cross-words and playing cards until her declining eyesight prevented these. As a teenager I found her a formidable Scrabble opponent but she softened my defeats by our raids on the shop for a small box of Black Magic to accompany our matches. Daddy pretended he didn’t notice the depleted stock!

Mum’s determined fighting spirit helped her overcome many health issues, including fighting cancer twice and bearing two knee replacements.

Mum and Dad were a devoted couple, married for over 69 years, with never a cross word. They were always at the helm of and a tower of strength to a close family community that expanded to welcome various partners, and currently includes 4 grand-children and 4 great grandchildren.

After her most recent long stay in hospital in the autumn of 2014 all Mum wanted was to return home to sit beside my Dad, so that they could hold hands and reminisce, as they had done for many years, content in each others’ company. She came home in time for Christmas – and she cleaned her plate of the magnificent Christmas Lunch that my daughter-in-law cooked her.

We saw her most recently on (UK) Mothering Sunday when she seemed to have “rallied” somewhat, and we were confidently making plans to visit again for her birthday in May. Sadly that was too ambitous.

Mum died peacefully in her sleep on 14th April 2015 in the home she loved, with her devoted husband, Laurie, by her side. Her suffering is over and she is at peace, but for those of us left behind, her loss from the family leaves a gaping hole that can never be filled.

I thank her for the business training and work ethic that she drilled into me – but more than any of that, for the Motherly love and concern and devotion that, to our shame, we all too often took for granted.

Thanks for everything Mum, you’re the best, and we’ll never forget you.

Family thanks are also due to the UK NHS and in particular her carers and the Bridlington medical team that gave her care and treatment second to none.

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Joy
 

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Harleena Singh - April 20, 2015

Hi Joy,

So sorry for your loss. Just have no words, and this is one loss that always leaves a vacuum that can never be filled.

I’m glad that her loving husband was by her side and her suffering is over…and she’s in a better and peaceful place now. They say that when He falls short of good souls, He calls one from below. I know how it can all be having lost my mom to cancer long back too – still miss her. But you know, our loved ones never really leave us – they become our guardian angels and are always beside us. Yes, their presence with us is what we miss immensely.

Sending prayers your way, though words don’t really comfort at such times, but you know we are all here for you.

    Joy - April 20, 2015

    Thanks Harleena,

    Mum was a great “Angels” person – I found two in her bags as we tidied things up – so your words are a particular comfort to me.

    Joy

Thyrone Charles - April 20, 2015

It’s really hard to hear this news and I’m sorry about this..
No matter how old we get, we always want our Mom, especially, when we don’t feel good..

May her soul rest in peace..

    Joy - April 22, 2015

    Thanks Thyrone,

    I’m certainly missing my Mum badly already.

    Thanks for your kind words.

    Joy

Edward Thorpe - April 20, 2015

Oh Joy,

What a sweet memorial you’ve given your Mom. She was a great Lady and your tribute of her brings out her zest for living.

Sounds like people will remember her as: A life well lived and lives brightened by a wonderful Lady.

Keep your Dad close.

All my best go out to you and your family,
Edward

    Joy - April 20, 2015

    Thanks Edward,

    That so sums up how we, and many others, will remember her. And yes – as you put it, a Lady – with a capital letter.

    Will pass your good wishes to all my family, thanks again.

    Joy

Donna Merrill - April 20, 2015

Dear Joy,

There is no way I can express the sorry of your loss. Your mother was an amazing woman and this tribute to her is a great way for healing.

It is so difficult to loose our loved ones. We are never ready, no matter how ill they are, or old they get.

When I lost my dad, I thought I was “ready” watching him suffer with cancer, but it knocked the wind out of me.

Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

-Donna

    Joy - April 20, 2015

    Dear Donna

    You’re right – I thought I was prepared for this loss, as Mum has been suffering and close to death for some months now, but it has knocked the stuffing out of me completely.

    Thanks for your kind words, understanding and prayers.

    Joy

Carol Amato - April 20, 2015

Joy, I am so very sorry for your loss, my friend, and understand a little bit about the ache that is in your heart today.

What a beautiful tribute you have paid to your wonderful mother.

It is plain to see that she was an amazing person! Always thinking of others with a generous heart, So loving and compassionate – what a blessing that she was so willing to give of her many talents to others.

Will definitely be keeping you and your family in prayer, Joy, and traveling safety.

Hugs,
˜Carol

    Joy - April 20, 2015

    Dear Carol,

    My sister and I were truly humbled putting together Mum’s tribute and we both said, only this evening, that as children we hadn’t been aware just how much she was doing for others, as well as for the family and business. She was completely generous and always thinking of other people.

    Thanks for your thoughts and prayers – the journey is never good, but under stressful conditions such as this it’s much worse.

    Catch up soon, Joy

Enstine Muki - April 20, 2015

Hi Joy,
I have been having Internet connection trouble in office since I got your mail. However, I’m here to extend my sympathy. It’s such a big loss and I just have my mouth to pray God to visit you in comfort.

On the other hand, mum has served and I believed she has accomplished her mission. We don’t pray for anyone to die but it’s comforting when they leave in peace.

Most people will pray for a quiet sleep after having fulfilled their mission. I strongly believe lying in bed and quietly passing away for the most part is sign of peace. We all will die some day BTW.

Some will be crushed on the highway, some in plane crash and lots more are dying horrible deaths. But look at how peaceful mum is going – no bone broken, no flesh torn, etc.

I do pray you and the rest of the family get divine comfort. That’s the only source of peace you need at this trying moment.

My prayers will continue your way till you feel the peace of God in you.

    Joy - April 20, 2015

    Hi Enstine,

    You’re right – Mum HAD to go one day, and a peaceful passing at home in bed, with my Dad beside her, was the best way to leave us.

    At 91 with all that service behind her she most certainly has accomplished her mission – with much left behind to show for her hard work.

    We have a terrible few days ahead of us – especially my Dad – but my sister and I are taking some comfort from preparing the tribute and order of service for her funeral. We are trying to get everything exactly as she would want, as OUR service to her wonderful memory.

    Thank you for your prayers and comforting words.

    Joy

Adrienne - April 20, 2015

Oh Joy, I’m so very sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing. I was hoping that she was still doing well after making that trip back home. Thinking positive thoughts I know helps but it’s mostly up to her as to how long she might want to stick around once her body has started to fail her.

April 14th was my sister’s birthday so this date will stick in my mind as well as the day you lost your wonderful Mom.

I appreciate you sharing more about your Mom with us, I always knew she was a special woman. My goodness, the accomplishments she’s achieved all while running a successful business and raising a wonderful family. I’m in awe of her Joy and I know you’re so very proud.

I’m glad though that she went peacefully in her sleep as we all hope to do some day. Whether you expect it to happen or not there is still a sadness that we’ll never get to give them a hug or have a good conversation. Knowing they are in a better place and at peace is comforting but it’s still a major loss.

Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

God Bless Joy!

~Adrienne

    Joy - April 20, 2015

    Hi Adrienne,

    Mum had some marvellous “rallies” over these last few months that gave her the chance to return to the home she loved for one more Christmas and one more Mother’s Day with us.

    The evening before she died the last words we said to each other were, as always, “Love you, God Bless” – but it’s painful to think we’ll never say it again.

    We are all very proud of her for her wonderful qualities and the way she was always 100% for her family.

    I appreciate your kind thoughts and prayers, Joy

Joseph Chikeleze - April 20, 2015

Hi Joy,

Am so sorry to hear this. Losing ones mum is painful.

God will give you the fortitude to bear this loss. Nice you made it this way to give her a befitting tribute.

We’re all here to console you, please take heart. Hopefully, your one and only MUM is singing with the host of ANGELS in heaven.

Please, accept this little from me. Best wishes to your career, your family, body and soul. God bless you and your dad.

Extend my greetings to your family as I will be checking back on your blog.

Joseph Chikeleze C

    Joy - April 20, 2015

    Hi Joseph

    With Mum’s musical talents our loss is the angels’ gain.

    It’s wonderful how many friends – online and offline – have stepped forward to offer comforting thoughts and images at this sad time. Not being of the Internet generation, Mum never really grasped how many people I had met were sharing in my pain at her illness. But she would have been pleased to know how many lovely friends I have made.

    Thanks for your kind thoughts for me and my family.

    Joy

James McAllister - April 21, 2015

Hi Joy!

I am so sorry again to hear about your loss. Losing somebody close to you is never easy, especially someone as close as your mother.
It sounds like she enjoyed a long and fulfilling life, which is something to be very thankful for.

Your tribute to her here was wonderful. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you during these hard times.

– James

    Joy - April 22, 2015

    Hi James

    Thanks for your kind words, and I’m pleased you liked hearing about Mum. She certainly had a full life.

    I also really appreciate you offering to help out over these very difficult free times.

    Joy

rahul choudhary - April 27, 2015

It’s truly difficult to hear this news and I’m sorry about this..

Regardless of how old we get, we generally need our Mother, particularly, when we don’t feel great..

Ovais Mirza - April 27, 2015

Hi Joy,

It’s really sad moment for all of us as one of our colleague blogger has lost her mother. I have no words to say but can only pray for your mother. God may please with her and give her all the rewards she deserves.

Regards,
Ovais Mirza

    Joy - April 30, 2015

    Thanks Ovais,

    Mum was a truly wonderful person, and certainly deserving of many rewards.

    Joy

Mark - April 29, 2015

So sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved Mum Joy!

She sounds like she was a terrific lady indeed!

And so incredibly active throughout her entire life!

And such an inspiration for and to you and your other siblings!

The loss of a loved one is never easy and certainly couldn’t have been easy
to share some of your most private feelings publicly!

But thank you for doing so!And please know that we understand at least
some of what you, your father and your other siblings are currently going through!

Just be grateful for the time we get for our loved ones to touch and shape our lives!

You take all the time you need to recover! Take care!

    Joy - April 30, 2015

    Hi Mark

    Thanks for your kind words and thoughts.

    It quite took us by surprise how much Mum had packed into her life.

    I’m back from staying with my Dad after the funeral, but my heart is still “up north” with him.

    A lot of work has built up while I’ve been away, but – as you suggest – I’m taking it steady for a while and just doing the essentials.

    Joy

Jim McCullen - May 3, 2015

Hi Joy, I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful tribute you put together above for your Mum. It sounds like she lived a full and meaningful life. She will live on through you.
Jim

    Joy - May 3, 2015

    Thanks Jim,

    She certainly was a lovely lady and working hard, giving so much to charitable causes as well as her family.

    Joy

Willena Flewelling - May 31, 2015

Hi Joy,

This topic is close to my heart, because we lost our mom last November. She’d been in the hospital less than two months.

It sounds like your mum was a pretty special lady who instilled in you a treasure of qualities that will bless you for the rest of your life. Treasure your memories of you mum, and find comfort in them.

    Joy - June 3, 2015

    Hi Willena

    So sorry to hear you lost your Mom too. Mine was in hospital for a long time round about that same time, however she did rally enough to come home so that we were able to spend a lovely last Christmas with her, and even (UK) Mothering Sunday too.

    She certainly was very special and left us with many happy memories.

    No doubt it’s the same for you and your Mom. I don’t think we’ll ever get over the loss of our Mums. I hope you’ll find comfort in your happy memories too.

    Joy

Chery Schmidt - July 1, 2015

Hello Joy, Your title really pulled me in! I am very sorry for your loss my friend, I cannot even begin to imagine how hard this is.

And What a beautiful tribute to your mother! Thank you so much for sharing her life with us. God Bless.. Chery :))

    Joy - July 2, 2015

    Hi Chery

    It has been a very sad year as Mum’s health deteriorated, it was tough for us all to watch it – especially my Dad who was there for her 24/7. We’re now trying to help him come to terms with his loss which isn’t easy. And of course my sister and I are grieving too.

    She was a very special lady and I’m proud to have been her daughter.

    Thanks for your kind words. Joy

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