Thursday, September 02, 2010

My Memories of Mum

The following is a tribute to Monica Stokes from her daughter, Mary (Fraher). It was read at the funeral by Mary's daughter, Deborah.

One of my earliest childhood memories is sitting with Mum while she read me a book about an adopted baby. I think the book was called Chosen Baby and it was a story about Mr and Mrs Brown who had chosen a special baby. I can still vividly see in my mind the pictures in this book and how proud and special I felt to be a ‘chosen’ baby.

I can’t remember how old I was when Mum gave me her autograph book. In the front cover she had written:

Not flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone
But still miraculously my own
Never forget for a single minute
You didn’t grow under my heart
But in it.

I have never thought of Mum as anything else but Mum. She was not my adopted mother. She was Mum. I never felt anything other than flesh of her flesh, blood of her blood.

Mum provided us all with a warm and happy home. She was always there when I got home from school. Friends were always made to feel welcome and there was always plenty of food to be shared around. In fact I’m quite sure that a lot of friends just showed up for the home baking, which never seemed to run out.

Mum was always willing to help out others where ever and when ever there was a need. It wasn’t at all unusual for us to have extra kids staying. She helped out when other mums needed a break, or were unwell, or were having more babies. We didn’t have a large home but there was always room for one or two more.

Mum loved going on our annual two-week holiday, especially to a small crib at Millers Flat. The little Morris 8 would be loaded up to the gunnels, Paul and I sitting on a pile of bedding so high that our heads almost touched the roof. Mum just loved those holidays at Millers Flat – the sunshine, the fresh air, the daily trips to the swimming pool, the little creek where we spent a lot of time, the hammock, the safe hanging in the willow tree, the rainwater tank which supplied us with water for cooking, washing and cleaning teeth. They were great holidays. Not even the long drop detracted from those holidays. We went to different places from time to time, but Millers Flat was always Mum’s favourite place.

For as long as I can remember Mum was involved in church and Parish activities. For many years she was an active member of the Women’s League. She would bake, bake and bake some more for school fetes. The Catholic Church was very special to her. She wasn’t simply a Catholic. She lived her faith day in and day out and was a great example to everyone who she came in touch with.

She was a people person. She loved talking to people and could while away the hours quite happily chatting to friends and family. When Aunty Flo came to stay with us I’m sure she would be creeping into bed not long before us kids were up and about. The two of them would sit in the kitchen and talk the night away. I also have very fond memories of Mum and her good friend Kathryn Waddell together. There was always so much laughter when those two got together.

Mum, you were the best mother a child could wish for. You were the best wife a husband could wish for. Rest in peace.