Mum was diagnosed with a brain tumor during the summer of 2013. Bravely, she faced surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, all of which she sailed through with the kind of cheerful courage that only she could possibly show. Sadly, she started to deteriorate in November and was admitted to St. Leonard’s Hospice in York on Christmas Eve. It is the most wonderful place and they strove to make Mum as comfortable as possible, showing extraordinary compassion and sympathy. On the 8th of January, Mum passed away, leaving her whole family in shock and sadness. She was a wonderful, exceptional woman who not only raised, and put up with, me and my four siblings but she inspired us all to achieve whatever we wanted to do. This was particularly true for me, she being such a great inspiration to my cooking – I simply could not be where I am today without her. Going forward, I will strive to do her proud in everything I do. Even so, I can’t imagine how tough it’s going to be without her by my side, telling me to add a bit more seasoning, a touch of this or that, or just to chuck it away and start again. I know it will be hard, but in special remembrance of her, I will keep producing food and recipes that you all can enjoy.
Finally I would just like to share this poem, that my sister wrote and recited at Mum’s funeral. It’s a beautiful reflection on how important she was to us.
Before I let you go I want to thank you
For every single thing you’ve ever done
For each and every thought and act of kindness.
For being just the most fantastic mum.
Thank you for the school runs and packed lunches,
For the doorstep sandwiches we could barely eat.
Thank you for the parents’ evenings and school plays,
For rewarding good reports with thoughtful treats.
Thank you for the bulging Christmas stockings,
That you dragged upstairs in the dead of night.
Even when we were grown-up with our own kids,
And Santa would long ago have taken flight.
Thank you for the cakes you baked with kindness,
For the wedding cake that you made for me.
And for all the birthday cakes and everyday cakes,
That meant our friends would always stay for tea.
Thank you for the egg hunts in the garden.
For taking time to hide them all around.
For laughing at our scramble to locate them,
And for the Mini Eggs that we never found.
Thank you for coming to my rescue,
With food and love and comfort when babes were small.
For filling up our fridge and endless cuddles,
And for making it look like no effort at all.
Thank you for the bedtime stories,
For the books you read at breakfast, lunch and tea.
For the stories and the poems that you wrote us,
And for reading to my children endlessly.
Thank you for the notes and cards and letters,
A hello – well done – I love you – I’m so proud.
For the endless texts and emails that you sent me,
The inbox now so quiet but once so loud.
I don’t know what I’ll do without you,
Without your wisdom, warmth and patience,
Spark and wit.
But all you’ve done and were lives on within me.
And I’ll try to carry it on a little bit.