|Ellen Patricia Laffan, 2nd March 1929 - 3rd December 2013|
Sunday, 8 December 2013
My Mum died on my birthday...
Ten days since my last blog, so much has happened in that time….
It was my birthday on the 3rd December and my Mum died that morning, we moved into our new house after buying all the furniture, Nelson Mandela died just 15 minutes away and life is so busy that I'm in a pleasant spin right now.
I got a text to say my Mum had died, such are the marvels of modern communication, one day they'll invent a hand held device that people will be able to speak to each other on! I was pleased for her, she hadn't wanted to live for some time. I was worried that I didn't feel very sad, I suppose I was more more relieved for her. Why do we treat animals with such dignity when they need to die, yet we are happy to see humans suffer physically and mentally as we do everything to keep them going against their wishes? Is she in a better place now? I don't know, I think so, but it's a better place than where she was, that's for certain.
My Mum was Irish. I've never understood the 'was' bit when someone is dead, because she still is Irish, isn't she? I'm so proud to travel the world on my Irish passport thanks to her. She came to England around 1950, one of 7 children to Peter and Elizabeth Laffan, from Ballycoolan, near Stradbally in the Republic. London was the place to go, exciting, loads of jobs just after the war and a chance for her to escape from the crowded house at home. She found work in a bar and that's how she met my Dad, who was fairly handy at throwing the drunken sailors out. They were married in London in January of 1951, and I was born at the end of that year. She did her very best for us as children and made pennies stretch in a way that people wouldn't be able to fathom today. All that any of us can do is use the tools we are given to make our path in life, and she certainly used all hers. We became good friends in later life and talked a lot about the past and made our peace. On our last meeting she met her first grandchild Quincey, who couldn't figure out what was going on, but my Mum loved him. I talked about South Africa and told her that we might not see each other again; she said I might get eaten by a lion before she died! I'm not going back to the UK for the funeral, my daughters will represent me and I'll take some time to sit in church here and remember her for all the best of reasons. She leaves 4 children, Paul Sencier, Andre Sencier, Jacqueline Heffernan and me. We've all come a long way from the council estate that we were brought up on in Essex. Our Mum did well to cope, considering everything, we owe her a great deal of respect.
I'll talk about Nelson Mandela later as there's so much going on in Johannesburg after his death. Preparations for the multiple funerals all around the city are under way for for this great man. It's hard to tell what kind of South Africa will develop now that his influence will come to an end, but the country and it's wonderful people have so much potential. After only a month I wish I'd spent my life here, but hey, at least I'm here now!
For now it's back to setting up home and we have some stuff, but the main furniture arrives on Tuesday. We've booked tickets to see Alison Moyet in concert next Friday, £18 each, and we're off to Gauteng Carnival this afternoon. With Man U losing to Newcastle at Old Trafford yesterday and Liverpool's great win, the weekend just couldn't get better, unless of course Arsenal can win this afternoon.