Postcard

Photo: Autumn Glory by Jonathan Leach

A couple of months ago, my lovely sister Jenni sent me this postcard on my first birthday without my Mum. She found it in a box of postcards that my Mum kept and would send people as a blessing.

It reads:

May God walk ahead of you
and guide your path
May God walk beside you
and keep you company.
May God walk behind you
and protect you from harm.
May God surround you
on all sides with his love.

I have needed to remember this over the last six months or more.

I hope that it blesses you too.

Everything but the kitchen sink

Kitchen sink

Last month, while clearing out Mum’s flat I came across this tatty old thing, the kitchen sink (model 1.024) from my younger sister’s old Caroline’s Home doll’s house.

You know the saying “everything but the kitchen sink”, that means “nearly everything one can reasonably imagine; many different things, often to the point of excess or redundancy”? Lots of people used to say that about my late Mum’s handbag. She kept a lot of things in it.

“Blimey! Rosalie, you have everything in there except the kitchen sink,” they’d laugh.

And my mum would rummage at the bottom of her handback and proudly produce this old thing.

“Actually,” she would counter, “I do have the kitchen sink in here.”

But it served a purpose other than just a comic retort. Behind the tiny cupboard doors, which over time broke and were repeatedly taped together with masking tape, Mum kept three ten pence pieces—the right amount of money to get her into most public toilets in an emergency.

That’s the kind of practicality that I admired about my mum.

Rosalie Jean Saunders (4 August 1939–6 August 2020)

Mum on her 81st birthday

On Thursday 6 August, two days after her 81st birthday my beautiful Mum, Rosalie Jean Saunders was found dead at home.

She had had an amazing birthday, she felt so blessed by people’s love and kindness. She had her hair dyed pink in celebration. Two days later, it appears that her heart gave out, but oh! what a heart she had.

The last two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotion. Most days when folks have asked me how I am, I’ve said that I’ve been like a typical day of Scottish weather: I’ve had a bit of everything.

Today, restricted by Covid-19 guidelines, a few family and friends gathered in the church grounds at St John the Evangelist, Selkirk (Mum’s spiritual home since 1974) and then in the Auld Kirk Yard to give thanks for the life of Mum and commit her to God’s keeping.

Mum was buried in a family grave, alongside my father.

My sister, brother and I worked collaboratively on her eulogy (below) using notes that she had left herself (thanks Mum, they were really helpful!). Mum left a lot of papers and writings and photographs which we will go through over the next few weeks, months, years and I’d like to compile them into a book to remember Mum by. But that is for another day.

Today we rejoiced for her life, her love, her faith in the God she adored.

Continue reading Rosalie Jean Saunders (4 August 1939–6 August 2020)

Negative Space

This beautiful short film was featured in Documentally‘s last newsletter. It’s definitely worth subscribing to.

I showed this video to my three children a few days ago; they were captivated, laughed at the end and we discussed it over breakfast the following morning. I love little moments like that.

I think about my dad a lot. He taught me a lot about being ordered and considerate in how I do things, the importance of finding a home for everything and putting it back after using it—something that was more important to him once his brain damage dug deeper and dementia started robbing him of his memories. Not surprisingly, he was an engineer. I often wonder what he could teach me now.