I wrote recently about my Dad, and it got me thinking about some of my great memories of my Mum who had passed away in 2005. She was an original, and when I wrote my contribution to her memorial service, I tried to reflect her personality and humour in my writing. She would have liked that--in fact, she would have probably laughed with that stretched, somewhat crooked lip action, and then exclaimed "Oh, J a n!" in her drawn out way, while wiping a laughter tear from the corner of her eye.
However, here is a somewhat edited excerpt from my contribution to her memorial - I thought it really reflected in the best way, her compassion and caring nature towards others:
When I was growing up and was about 9, one of my fondest memories at Christmas time was occasionally helping Mum to gather some of her special Christmas baked goods, additional grocery items, such as tinned ham or sometimes some special tinned vegetables. We would also gather some good hand-me-down clothing items that I may have outgrown, a couple of toys which I would contribute, and put all of this in a box.
Mum and I, under the cover of darkness would then walk to another area of our neighbourhood, which was made up of a diverse population. There were many families that at the time were less fortunate people, and Mum would usually pick one family, knowing their needs and we would design our 'surprise' for them. Under the cover of darkness, we would quietly leave our parcel on their doorstep, and if we thought we could run away fast enough, we would knock on their door, and escape into the night.
We never stayed to see what reaction, if any, our secret parcel gave to our 'chosen family'. We just hoped that it was a good reaction, and then we would walk home in the cold, snowy night, knowing that at least we had tried to help someone who may have needed it.
One year, after the Christmas holidays, I was back at school and I noticed a small dark haired girl who had lived in the home where we had left the special parcel. She was wearing one of my smaller dresses which had been put in the parcel, and tucked in her arms was a soft baby doll that I had outgrown, but that had always held a special place in my heart---now she was maybe sharing that space again with this special little girl!
I made a mental note to tell Mum what I had noticed, and then smiled a quiet, peaceful smile to myself as I walked into my classroom.