I’ve had some wonderful correspondence since setting up this blog both from strangers and from people who knew Mum. Thanks to everyone who has contributed.
A lady who was friends with Mum sent me this:
No sweeter lovely lady,
As wonderfull and kind
All of this in one friend
Would be very hard to find.
Love your friend
You are right when you said your mum was one in a
This letter is from Liz, a friend of the family. Liz and her sister spent a lot of time in our house while we were all growing up. They were great friends of mine and I know they both had a very special place in my Mum’s heart.
Many people come in and out of your life and make an imprint in the sand. To me, Mary’s sand markings are very visible and positive ones. Many feet can walk along your path as you travel in space and time,a few feet will leave a deep and profound grounding impact on the visual surfaces and unseen layers. Whilst walking along the path of life with many footprints carrying trails,the uniqueness of Mary’s presence emerges and your eyes are drawn to her optimisism. Mary’s footprints transcends in the washing of the sea bed both in her life and her legacy is living on.Sometimes, when I am sad and trying to elevate my mood, I can feel the winds shifting the sadness, by blowing whispers of wise words and gestures that are stored in the mind eye.Mary’s influences and acts of kindness frequent this place and I am so lucky to have had the privilege of knowing her as a powerful woman and mentor in my life.
When thinking of visual markings of influential people that have lay their foot on my path.’Our Stories Our Vision’ by Zoe Sallis comes to mind by giving examples of 40 women that were chosen as influential and powerful women.Whilst reading this book Mary’s name sprang to mind as a woman having vision and leadership.It’s great to have the opportunity to have had someone in my life like thats real and alive as a reference guide.Mary’s grassroots had a deep understanding of humanity and also a sense of humour.I’m am both blessed and fortunate to have met both Eileen, Mary and the family.
I got to know Mary as a child through my sister Anne. Mary’s daughter Eileen was friends with Anne in primary school.Anne was offered to go to Eileen’s house and Anne asked if I could come along too. Mary and Eileen’s family embraced the both of us and we called over to Eileen’s and Mary’s on Fridays.Mary and family’s kind nature led to bringing Anne and I away on holidays and filling a gap in our young lives that few had the capacity understand or show empathy to our difficult circumstances as children.She had an amazing gift of intuitiveness and was a bright light for me.
What springs to mind is her compassion and sense of social justice and consciousness. Few people have the capacity to be visible and not want act invisiblibly. As an 80′s child voluntary work was less celebrated as it may percieved today. Mary carried out many acts of kindness invisibly with/out praise and carried it with both respect,dignity for herself and people around her no matter what background, affleunce, race or creed.
I got to know of Mary’s kindness and compassion both as a child and as an adult.Mary’s intuition helped both me,Anne and my family to excel against limitations and move forward to realising your best potential and have the courage to change things that can be changed.Everyone has the right and opportunity to change.
My last time I spent time with Mary when I stayed with her in Galway. She was so kind and thoughtful. I remember we were walking on shop street and a few travelling ladies came up to talk to her. She spoke to them with gentleness and assertiveness.She later told me of how she was involved in a travellers womens group and how the world of the voluntary work had changed with regard to how it dealt with impoverished people. The current focus was about empowering people to help themselves and giving people to tools to that rather than a sticky plaster.She also told me that she had come up against alot of barriers towards the inclusion of travellers and resistance to change in Irish society towards minority communitism and also from within the travelling community.Mary’s advocacy and bridge building was definately was respected by the travellers that we met on the street.I feel privileged to have had that experience.
She told me when I visited her in Galway that one of her happiest things in life was getting her four children together and taking photo’s of them together.She said it was more difficult now that her children were adults and that they were all living in different places at the time.Family, connectedness and kindness were so important to her.I think as adults we can sometimes forget the importance of connecting with siblings and worry about our own lives rather than touching with base from time to time.
Mary whilst driving to Oughtergard, told me one of the proudest things is made was picture collage pictures.Creativity and arts seemed also to be a part of her life.I remember as a child loving the Christmas party and also dreading the part where you had to have a party pieces.Mary encouraged party pieces,talents and was attentive in searching for them and also to appreciate other peoples talents.Mary had keen eye for looking out for peoples talents and encouraging to persuit those dreams with vigour.
Many footprints are seen and unseen in the sand.Mary’s footprints is embedded in many peoples hearts.
A Donegal relative who was very close to my Mum wrote:
have been following your memories of your mum,who was a very very special and beautiful woman. she will always live on in my memory.xx
It is lovely to receive mails from family and friends but when someone who has no connection to the family feels a connection to this blog, it is a real treat:
It is one of the hardest things to loose a Mum. As someone told me when my Mum was ill that life would go on but it would never be the same. I was an only child and so did not have siblings to talk about the life we had growing up and share the laughs and tears that are involved in every family. It is so good for you that you can put all these memories in print and such a tribute to a wonderful Mum. You and she were so lucky to have each other and even though you cannot see each other anymore you are still together in love.
It’s a real privilege to get to hear feedback from the blog readers:
I’m so sorry you lost your dear Mum. Your love and admiration for her shines through in your writing. I’m sure she’d be very proud of you for keeping her memory alive like this.Take care.
I am really thankful that readers feel they can their own stories with me:
This is a brilliant idea, and fair play to you for doing this. I lost my sister, Valerie, in 2000, she was 32yrs old, married with 2 children. Valerie died due to an insect bite, and due to negligence and misdiagnosis in the hospital, Valerie died of sceptaemia. This has gone very hard on my parents to this very day. I applaud you for doing this for your Mum, she would be very proud of you.
To all the readers and commentators, thank you, thank you, thank you.