Strange (and a little bit scary) times.
Only a month ago we were making plans and getting on with things.
And then things changed. Slowly at first, but then it dawned on me. This is going to affect all of us. We’re in this together.
And so it’s time to start finding the good stuff and noticing the miracles because we are going to need them.
I’m starting to think about the good things that will come out of these tough times.
And one of those is connection. And connection starts with reaching out to those you love.
It’s not going to be the same this year. We can’t all go and spend the day with our Mums. But that’s all the more reason to make sure she knows just how grateful you are for everything.
So I this year I thought I would do more than just send my Mum (who like many sensible 74-year-olds is socially isolating even from her own family) a card. I thought I’d remind her of what she means to me.
Sheila is an amazing woman.
She was born in 1946 with Pyloric Stenosis a condition that means without surgery the baby will not survive. Her mother had already lost two babies. I can’t contemplate how frightening it must have been to send a third into surgery. She’s one of the earliest generations to survive the diagnosis.
Maybe that’s why she always been an activist. A doer. Someone who rolls her sleeves up and gets on with the job.
Community is her passion along with gardening and shouting at Clive.
She was a community pharmacist and has probably saved lives with her wise advice and dedication to the job.
And when she was’t ‘working’ the real work got done. Raising four daughters, keeping Clive on the straight and narrow, setting up playgroups and then being a governor at the local primary and secondary school we all went to.
Shelia believes if you want something doing, you’d best get on with it.
When Hills Stores closed she set up a local community charity shop which has raised £10.000 a year for the last ten years all of which goes back into the community she loves, all from other people’s cast offs.
And that’s not to mention her role as chair of the Parish Council.
She’s part of the reason Ramsbury has allotments, and a Link service that helps the elderly and has won awards for best kept village.
Sheila is part of the team that run an agenda of local community events from Horticultural shows to Jubilee celebrations from Royal visits to First World War Commemorations and even a local cinema that started with a screen using a bed sheet and four bits of 4×4 plywood (Clive does have his uses).
Events that bring everyone together as a community.
So it’s not easy for Sheila to be locked away in her own home.
And it’s now more than ever that we need her indomitable spirit and enthusiasm as we come to terms with what’s happening around us.
I’d like to take this chance to say ‘Thanks Mum’ for being all that and more. For all you do for us and for the people you care about so much in Ramsbury.
And for teaching me this:
Amazing people will always find a way to help others.
And I’d like to encourage you to do the same.
Write a note to that special Mum of yours and tell her that you love her.
And if she’s no longer here with you, know that she’ll be looking down on you. Today of all days. Look for the signs and you’ll find them.
And to keep washing your hands and touching your heart to show you care rather than going with your instinct and giving a hug.
Happy Mother’s Day to all your amazing Mums out there (you know who you are) and thank you for everything you do.