She was the mother of four children, of which I am the eldest, and as a child when times were hard she made sure that we did not go without and ensured love and comfort for us all.
Never have I known a more caring and loving human being who despite all the indignities of old age always put others first, and her love knew no bounds whether human or animal.
Until very recently she helped as a ward auxiliary in her local hospital, and was much loved by the nursing staff who worked with her, and I was bowled over by the number of these wonderful people who visited her regularly when she was admitted for treatment at the hospital late last year.
They had the highest respect for her, and I felt in a way she was a mother to them all and she cared for them as she did for the patients with love, respect and dignity.
|Mum as a beautiful young woman with her brothers|
Even as a young woman, Mum often used to look after her much younger brother as their own mother was often away working. Her character and personality was very much like her late father, Frank Aston who passed away many years ago, and he was a man who shared many of Mum`s attributes and attitudes, and was unreservedly a gentleman of the highest accord.
|Two really wonderful people - Mum and Grand-dad|
I recall how I felt at his funeral, and was simply amazed at how many of his workmates and management staff were in obvious deep grief and shed many tears at his passing.
The British are generally very reserved emotionally, so to see this mass outpouring of loss was quite overwhelming.
Like Mum, a gentle and truly decent human being, and like Mum somebody I was honoured to know and love.
Mum was also a strict vegetarian and was very spiritual in her beliefs. Whilst I am sadly not vegetarian I am indebted to her for my own path to spirituality.
Her two great loves were her two very young grandchildren Freija and Pierce, and with them at least she was able to spend her last Christmas.
I am also very much indebted to my brother Matt, who as a qualified nurse working in the Acute Medical Unit in their home town of Southend on Sea, was able to break from the hospital to care for her full time at home.
I know it was very hard for him, but he gave all his time and love to caring for her, and keeping her safe during these difficult times. And to him I will always be indebted.
For me it has been a double blow, as late last year I had to say goodbye to my little cat, Shelly. Ironically she had exactly the same cancerous illness as Mum, and in cat years was similarly aged, so in a way this was a precursor for what sadly I knew was to come.
And like Mum, I can see no difference between human or animal, as we are all children of what we call God, and so for me the grief was just as hurting as it is now.
If proof be necessary, I recall the night my cat passed over. I went outside into the garden and saw as I opened the door that she was sat there in front of me as in life. And as in life she reacted in her normal way by running to the side before coming in. Only this time she faded away into the night air and failed to come back. But she obviously knew she had to say goodbye in the only way she knew she could.
I have no doubt that I will meet Mum again, for that she has promised. And that would for me be a fine gesture from a wonderful person I was proud to call my friend and mother.
|Mum and me last year|
It is sad that within this world there is so much hatred and negativity by human towards human and animal.
We are measured in this life for what we do, and how we treat each other. None of us are perfect, and none are without sin, but we as humans must always strive to do good and to show love and compassion for those who are less fortunate than us. That to me is the hallmark of being human, and Mum had that gift in abundance.
God bless you Mum. I and many others will miss you deeply.