My mother gave me many gifts. Too many to name and I never thanked her enough for even a small portion of them.  I am not talking of material gifts, although of course she gave me these.  I am talking about the lessons, experiences and scope to live, learn and be, I think, a decent human being.  She had her challenges, of this I am very sure.  I suspect she suffered from a mild form of depression and certainly anxiety, although this would have been far too much to admit.  She was a woman who married early, had six children and had a life that was devoted to those children and her marriage.  It was not all plain sailing.  I could see this, even from my mid teenage years when my parents had been married for 35 years.  As my father retired and spent more time at home, the marriage was strained but they kept it together.  My mother who had enjoyed for most of her married life, around 30 hours a week to herself or only with children, suddenly with my father always around.  He never developed a hobby and so watching TV was his idea of retirement. As I say, they kept it together. In all honesty, I don't think they would have known what else to do!  Also, they were Catholic and divorce was not a word that was ever mentioned in our household.  Then my mother's health began to fail, with 4 heart attacks over 15 years and the onset of Parkinson's, my father suddenly found himself looking after my mother and at times that "burden" to great.  Depressed after open heart surgery himself, he often talked about not being able to cope.  When my mother did pass away, I think my father experienced as much relief as grief.  This is something I have not totally reconciled and certainly we never talked about it.  He has passed away himself now, and I guess it does not matter.

So now, as I make a cup of tea and think of my mother.  I remember the day she talked to me about warming the pot first, one teaspoon of tea per person and one for the pot, milk in the cup first.  I make a great cup of tea because I care about the process.  I care about the process because my mum taught me to.  Thanks mum :-)