Monday, 12 May 2008

Happy 60th Birthday!

On the 12th of May a baby girl was born to proud parents Una and Cyril of Strathmore. She was to be one of five children, with two older sisters, a brother just 15 months ahead of her and another sister 5 years later.

As a baby she was seriously ill with Pink's Disease, an illness caused by the addition of mercury in teething gels up until the '50s. While she managed to avoid death, unlike 10-25% of cases, it went on to cause many, many health problems throughout her life.

Life did go on and this little girl grew into a young woman and at the tender young age of 19 this woman met a man. A man that her family were, from what I understand, never overly enthusiastic about, a man 12 years older than her, a man with a 5 year old daughter.

She was soon married and just three months before her 21st birthday she gave birth to a baby girl. She lived in a derelict house, in the middle of a paddock, with no-one but the debt collectors and the cows for company. She washed nappies in a tub and scraped and saved every penny. Eventually she got their financial situation under control and her thriftiness was a skill that would come in handy time and time again throughout her life.

At the age of 25 she was living in their brand new house in Keysborough with her husband, her two daughters and the latest addition to the family, a baby girl. While from the outside things seemed to have settled down they were in fact still facing many challenges and she suffered from loneliness. She lived for her girls and gave them all she could.

The years came and went, as did life events. They bought a business requiring a lot of time and energy, the family went through some tough times and as hard as she tried, she was unsuccessful in her attempts to keep her family intact.

In her early 30s she suffered some fairly serious medical problems and while she once again fought death, her husband did not. At the age of 32 she was widowed with three children, one 8, one 12 and one 19.

In the years that followed she continued to do everything in her power to support her girls, in every sense. The 80s were in full swing and life was finally starting to settle into some kind of normality. 1985 saw change, on several fronts. Her first grandchild was born and a very kind, generous man came in to her life.

In 1986 they married and went on to spend a wonderful decade together. It was pleasing and gratifying to see my mother enjoying life, she deserved every minute of it. But health issues continued to plague her and in 1984 two very unfortunate diagnosis were given, one to him, one to her. He had cancer, she had MS.

He died in 1986, leaving her a widow for the second time in her life. Just 48 years old.

That didn't stop her, yet again she bounced back. She fought her MS in every way she could, from alternative medicine and vitamins to regular exercise. It was a miracle the doctors said. She had heard that a few times in her life and it would not be the last time. She continued to play competitive tennis twice a week.

She contemplated her future for a while before re-educating herself and going on to become a community worker in crisis centre. Had she not already had enough crisis in her life? Many years were spent there until common sense got the better of her and eventually she left it for a more peaceful life.

In the meantime three more grandchildren had been born, she had moved to Berwick and had decided to make the most of her life, joining various clubs and organisations over the years. She was secretary here, president there. She was a good organiser, a strong outgoing woman with a lot of energy and a lot of drive. A popular woman.

And in the midst of enjoying life to its fullest she met a man, a man who would help her create happiness, a man to enjoy life with, a man who would encourage her to venture out in to the world and into life itself, far beyond her expectations.

Life became filled with social activities, walking, mountain climbing, dancing, the gym, golf, trips away, visits to the youngest 2 of her now 6 grandchildren, friends, family, family, friends, movies and more!!!!!!

And now she has reached the grand age of 60.

She is a fitter, healthier and happier woman than she has ever been in her life. And she no longer has to count her every penny. She is thrilled to have reached 60, she is thrilled to be living life to its fullest.

And I am so thrilled for her. It is a pleasure, and a relief to know my mum is doing ok.
She deserves it.

Happy Birthday Mum!!!
And may the next 30 years be equally blissful!

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