The gaining of wisdom

It’s been a sad start to 2013 with the passing of my wonderful Mum Joyce on January 18. She was 86. Mum’s death has left a big hole in my life which is going to take quite some time to heal but I think how fortunate I was to be a part of her life and having spent quality time with her in her final years and months is something I will never regret.

My mum was such a generous soul who seldom complained about a thing. She gave so much of her time to her family, her church and community and through her love of cooking helped to raise funds for the less fortunate. She lived for us kids and loved us all equally and our appreciation of her was demonstrated by our commitment to her care right up until the end. She welcomed her grandchildren and great grandchildren lovingly into her life and was delighted to be able to meet and hold her newest granddaughter May, just last year.

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I gained so many invaluable things from mum. She taught me the difference between wanting and needing and she showed me that living a simple, meaningful life can give you more pleasure than anything you can ever buy. It just took me a while to realise. She taught me to love the outdoors, bushwalking, wildflowers and the Blue Mountains. She shared her love of the water and took us on fabulous beach-side camping holidays that I’ll never forget. She taught me to love knitting, to make stuff, to get my hands dirty, to play music and love dogs, possums and birds but to always be terrified of spiders, no matter how small. She taught me to appreciate the value of food, the nourishment of home cooked meals and how to make the best crunchy baked potatoes ever. Without realising she passed on valuable survivor skills that had been passed on to her and that I too have now passed on and was delighted knowing I’d rekindled a passion for what we now call ‘simple living’. She taught me to be patient and accept others but never to expect miracles from anyone and it is only with her wisdom that I greet the unexpected as beautiful surprises.

For all of these things and so much more I am truly grateful and think…how lucky was I. 

‘Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter. The lasting pleasures of contact with the natural world are not reserved for scientists but are available to anyone who will place himself under the influence of earth, sea, and sky and their amazing life’. RACHEL CARSON

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Mum second from the right, hiking at Govett’s Leap in the Blue Mountains, 1948

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