My mother will be dead 50 years next year. I've had difficulty in re-reading letters she sent me. For context to so many letters, I was an emigrant to Canada in 1967. Which I've written about many times on this blog. Without fail, Mum's weekly letter would arrive with all the news, even though on the date of this letter, February 18th, 1971, she had less than two months to live. And knew it.
"My dear M----
I am late in replying to your last letter, I got caught up in lots of chores trying to get things done around the house as it's only three weeks from today is J==='s (brother) wedding. D--- (my 13 yo sister) got a lovely cream trouser suit,it's really nice on her,it will look pretty on her at the wedding.
I must get a hat yet, I may go into town some Saturday morning with Dad, it will be very quiet then, and the shops will be slack.
M--(her pet name for me)the green blouse will be nice (I had bought her her wedding outfit when I went back with my kids a few months before this) as I will try and get a light brown hat to match the suit you bought me, don't you think that will be nice?
The wedding will be formal, so no new suits to be bought (she means for the men and boys of the family who'd rent morning wear). I hope this letter is readable as I am rushing for post.
A--- is having only two bridesmaids, A----(another brother) is best man and KR (friend of J--'s) is groomsman.
M-- they will love the sheets (my proposed gift for bro and bride), get them a good big size and do send them before the wedding as you said yourself before, presents that arrive late are not half as exciting, do your best anyway M--.
L & S (cousins) sent a lovely dinner service, real good ones and such lovely soups with little handles, that's their third dinner service. I have not seen the other ones as they are over at A--'s aunt's place. I told you I think that D----(her sister, my aunt) gave them Waterford Crystal, a 1/2 doz tall stem glasses and K----(another sister) gave them blankets. From this on, I expect the presents will come in.
G.O'C, (a neighbour) gave a lovely carving set, pearl handles. He is coming to the wedding too. I was glad that J---(my brother) asked him. (G was a troubled young man, a good friend to J--- who suicided a few years later.)
P & C (my parents' best friends)are coming and she rang to ask me what presents were they after getting as she would get a set of china or cutlery. So I said to please herself, M--, I'm sorry if I keep talking about the wedding, we are so caught up here.
I was down at the doctor's yesterday and when the wedding is over, I will have to get these nodules off much as I hate the thought.
Give my love to T (former husband)and O & J (daughters) all my love M--xxxx you are never far from my thoughts. Mum
PS P(her best friend) was asking for you today, she really cares for your O. Mum."
I was feeling particularly sorry for myself today, the pandemic, worsening mobility, just general woe-is-me and I thought of my mother and all she suffered with a horrible form of cancer. Multiple amputations and thought to re-read some of the immense correspondence i have from her. She wrote as she spoke and I hear her words and feel her love in every line. I can't imagine what she was going through leaving behind her young children and still writing so lovingly to me in Canada.