life goes on

Life goes on……………..
I don’t like the month of JUNE and this year will be ten years since my parents were “promoted to glory” or they passed or died or are no more – yes I am bordering on quoting the whole of the dead parrot scene from Monty Python, but I won’t.
Over the last few weeks I have discovered personally that for me grieving is living. Living with the everyday knowledge that you won’t hear their voices again, has probably been one of the hardest experiences for me. I am grateful for Youtube and a video of my parents doing what they did best – leading a church in worship.
I have cried openly and at surprising moments over the last few weeks as several times, the grief has hit me when I least expected it; although having 2 Mothers Day festivals in 2 months probably didn’t help. I am grateful to those that I have been able to be honest with in my pain. And who all these years later walk the road with me.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, can I say it takes a village to walk and grieve with an individual or family.
Life takes over when the music has faded and comfort is no longer found in numbers.
Life takes over when you need to eat and cook and clean and people expect you to get back to it.
Life takes over the grief when you are invited to a party and don’t feel like going because you might bring the mood down.
Life takes over when you see a family enjoying being together and your dream and wish that you could do that mundane shop again.
Life takes over when people don’t know what to say and you find yourself comforting them.
Life takes over when you don’t want to be nice to anyone anymore or have them be nice to you. Life takes over when you are in the supermarket and everyone is just getting on with life and you want to shout, “ I miss my parents.
Life is unfair. I am grieving and don’t want to be happy.” Life takes over when you have to explain the whole story – again!
Life takes over when even now you pick up the phone to tell your mum or dad about your day and then realise you can’t.
Life takes over when you are in so much pain that you sob as you fall asleep because “your village” have been amazing and you don’t want to burden them anymore.
Life takes over when you put your grief aside to walk the path so well trod with someone in your village.
Life takes over but the grief and the constant sadness never passes, it lessens.
Life takes over the grief and you thank God for that bit of breathing space.
Life goes on even when you don’t want it too and some days you are grateful some days you wish it had stopped at the last laugh, hug or I love you.
Life goes on and the village gets smaller but they are still there and so are you going through life.
You see life goes on……………….and so does the grieving.

All that’s left to say………goodbye

I’ve questioned

I’ve wondered

I’ve cried

I’ve denied

I’ve moved 

I’ve stayed 

I’ve called 

I’ve listened

And yet it’s in the stillness and silence that these days made sense

And yet it’s in the stillness and silence that I find some peace

There are moments of raw grief

There are episodes of emptiness

Maybe one day I’ll understand

Maybe I never will

Maybe I won’t need to understand 

This isn’t only because of you my friend

This is about all those encounters with loss 

The time spent wondering why

The only true response is there is no answer why

And all I am left with is “goodbye”

©Estelle Blake – 19th August 2015 (3rd edit.)

Mum…….thanks & Happy Mothering Sunday

on the 15th March 1932, an extraordinary event took place, and yet it was so very normal for all involved. My Mum, Valerie Mary Hudson was born. An event that didn’t change the world. She was born in the East End of London, a cockney by birth at Thhe Mothers Hospital in Clapton. Her life as a child wasn’t easy. She lost her own mother when she was little. And that changed her attitude in a way you can’t imagine. 

In 1952, she was “commissioned and ordained” as a Salvation Army Officer. She met my dad and they married October 6th 1956 (dad’s birthday). Together they changed the world around them. They inspired me in ways that maybe I never got the chance to tell them. (This is them on their Golden Weddings Celebrations) 



But back to mum. You see to many she was Val or Major Val, or auntie Val and to dad she was Valerie. His love and His life. Yet to me she was my mum, she was a friend to so many and yet so few knew her deepest secrets. She welcomed my friends as though they were her children and family. She was the person my friends turned too. She was the person I turned too. 

She inspired me in her cooking, although some of her meals weren’t the best. She would bake and place love gifts of Ginger cakes and chocolate muffins on people’s doorsteps because she could. She walked through hazardous districts and challenged church thinkers on their technical jargon. She was a fervent prayer and loved outrageously. She wanted people to know Jesus, she took ages writing and working on her messages because she wanted them to make sense to people. She was desperate that faith was a personal challenge and belief. She was my mum who at 64 years of age, tried to learn Italian because of my calling. She cared deeply for dad and our family. She would take the time to write to people and let them know she cared and loved them. She would phone me before dad got out of bed so we could chat without interruption. She missed me a lot (she told me that) and would count down the days till we saw each other. I never understood that – I do now. She had the most wicked sense of humour. She like me loved to laugh at silliness and she loved a practical joke. She taught me about language and poetry and God and fun and faith and cooking and joyful, disciplined service for God. She taught me about the value of friendship and investing in friends. She showed me how to love the unloveable, how to make space for the forgotten. She showed me how to see the best in people. She called me everyday to tell me she loved me. She went to the football with me because dad didn’t want too. She made me understand the love of a mother. She helped me to realise that being myself is okay. She taught me to be all that God has called me to be.

Yes that was my mum. And this year, I miss her as much as I did last year and the year before and will do next year. My mum was fabulous and wonderful and crazy and a full of faith. 

But this year in the UK it’s Mother’s Day on what would have been her 83rd birthday. I pay tribute to her and to the mum’s similar to her, because she was one of a kind. 

All I really wanted to say was – thanks Mum, I miss you! 

Happy Mothers Day Mum and Happy Birthday too. 

(Mum as a young Cadet)