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Monday, 2 March 2015

R.I.P. MOM

Mary - R.I.P.

Mom

Born 21.12.22 - Died 26.01.15


Mom, serving at the Co-Op during the 1940's

Mom sadly passed peacefully away just over a month ago after a short illness.  Despite suffering for the last 4 years with dementia she had a very full and interesting 92 years of life.  
Following words will just skim the surface of it.

Mom was born the eldest of identical twins to Clara and Jack Dunn on the 21st December 1922, younger sisters to John.  The twins were inseparable throughout their lives, though had totally different personalities - Mom the extrovert, and Auntie Doris the home-maker.  Nan and Grandad weren't by any means wealthy, but were very hard working and the children were always surrounded by love, and brought up to believe that they were very special people.  She was also brought up with pets - cats, dogs and chickens which instilled in her a life-long love of animals.  (To her last days she vividly remembered carrying soft, warm, Peggy the hen to their new home when she was four years old - Auntie Doris carried Tiger the cat with the white tipped tail!)
Despite having such different personalities it was uncanny how they would end up doing and wearing similar things.  For example they both arrived on the same day and time to tell their parents the happy news that they were expecting their first child.  (My lovely cousin was born only 10 days after my brother, he is known to me as CuzBro as we share some of the same DNA.) They would often attend family gatherings dressed in a similar manner - for example Mom wearing a red top and navy slacks, Doris wearing navy top and red slacks!)  They spoke and or saw each other every single day of their lives until my Aunt died in 2006, as you can imagine Mom was devastated when she lost her sister.

Mom was always very active, taking part in sport during her younger days.

Mom 2nd from left front row.  St. Saviours School netball team 1936.

When she left school she went straight into 'service' working for a local well to do family.  She would be up at 5am to light the fires in the house, and many other duties.  She worked there until war broke out in 1939, when she left to do work for the war effort.  She worked in a factory that made springs and other components, Mom made springs for children's Mickey Mouse Gas Masks.

On VE day 08th May 1945, during the celebrations with family, friends and neighbours Mom met my Dad, Ron - it was love at first sight for them both.  They married on the 16th May 1946, my brother Ron(ald) came along in 1949 and I followed in 1956.  We were brought up strictly to respect others and to 'mind our manners', and although both Ron(ald) and I had a somewhat difficult relationship with our Mother we ALWAYS knew that we were loved by our parents.

Mom throughout her life worked hard and at times had more than one job to help make ends meet.  In 1953 she joined Staffordshire Police in Bilston where we lived, as the first woman special constable in Staffordshire, and continued to 'do her duty' for the next 27 years.


Mom in 1953, (and below) photos taken by the local newspaper 'Express & Star' for the article about her joining the police force.


Bath time for my brother in 1953.

Though women constables were never issued with a truncheon (unlike today's police force - woman constables are issued with night sticks.) when Mom retired from the force in 1991 she was presented with a special truncheon, a great honour as very few women constables in the UK have been awarded one.


Laid upon Moms police uniform skirt her much treasured presentation truncheon, long service medal and bar, police whistle and key (which would have been for opening the Dr Who style blue police boxes) and her powder compact. I used scrabble letters as a tribute, Mom loved crossword puzzles and avidly played scrabble for many years.


Bilston changed it's county borders during her years in the force and became under West Midlands, hence the West Midlands police badge on her powder compact.
Mom sang every single day, up to and including her last day on earth.  She knew a song on any subject you cared to mention!  She was one of the founding members of the West Midlands Police Choir and sang with them from the 70's until she retired.  She took part with the choir in the National Eisteddfod at Llangollen North Wales on no less than three occasions.  (She was also an active member of local choirs up to 18 months before her death.) 

In 2002, Mom was about to celebrate her 80th Birthday - we were at a loss as to know how to help her celebrate it.  I asked her what she would like to do?  Her reply amazed me...
"I'd like to go a ride in the police helicopter!"
What could I do but approach Staffordshire Police force and pass on my mothers request.  When they realised that she had been the first woman Special Constable in the county, they helped us push the boat out for the celebrations.  Although the insurance wouldn't allow Mom to actually have a flight in the helicopter arrangements were made for Mom and us (the family) to have a day visit to the aerodrome at Halfpenny Green Airport, Bobbington to meet the crew and were treated like royalty.  


Here I am pictured with Mom just before her special day.  You can see by the huge smile on her face what a brilliant surprise she had.  We were all amazed by the equipment that the helicopter crews have at their disposal in the fight against crime.

After Dad died in 1995, Mom was determined not to allow depression to win.  Throughout her life, as well as singing she had always had an interest in amateur dramatics and had appeared in many local shows and plays.  She joined an 'extras' agency, and was soon offered a part as one of the witches in Roald Dahl's 'The Witches' at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton.  The family joked with her that she was typecast ;o)  She appeared in each performance for the two weeks the show was on. 

Mom chose to move here, into sheltered housing in our village in 2003 as she realised that in the not too distant future she would probably need more help from me.  She arranged to have me added as a joint bank account holder, made an Enduring Power of Attorney and also made and paid for all her funeral arrangements within the first two months of living here.  This shows how she was quite an organised person throughout her life.

Sadly, dementia changed Mom's personality a lot until a few weeks before the end when she became very loving again.  We knew that the end was very near and I had made my peace with her. She died surrounded by love, care and a very close family member was with her.  Mom had been admitted to The Beeches care home at Standon Hall on the 23rd December for her own safety (a traumatic time for both Mom and I), and after settling in very well she became ill.  We, the family have the highest regard for the loving care that she had during her stay there.  Despite some of the awful things that we read about that happen in care homes there ARE good ones, and we believe that Mom was in one of the best.  We, the family cannot praise the staff highly enough.

Mom's funeral was a celebration of her life.  She chose to have a humanitarian graveside service, even though she'd had a deep religious up-bringing and belief throughout her life.  When I went to see the undertaker about the arrangements they remembered Mom very well and told me that they'd had a long an interesting conversation about the service.  Mom had told her that even though she was deeply religious we, her children weren't and she didn't think it was fair to make us attend a church service.  We were deeply moved by this. She had asked for no flowers, but would like donations in her memory to be given to animal charities in her memory.  The donations were an incredible £220, which we divided equally between Many Tears Animal Rescue and West Midlands Hedgehog Rescue.  We know that Mom would have been delighted with our decision to award these two self funded charities which are close to our hearts.  In turn the charities have been overwhelmed with the donations made in memory of Mom.


Mom, enjoying a visit to Nicky's (a family members farm) at lambing time in 2012

Rest in peace Mom, you are now reunited with your beloved Ron, our Dad - and you are very probably singing with the largest choir.

xx xx xx xx xx xx

15 comments:

Denise said...

Oh Rose, what a very sweet and special tribute you've written to your mom. I know you went through a difficult time over the past few years, and I'm so glad to read that she had become loving again near the end and that you had made your peace. That would make everything much easier to live with in the coming years, I'm sure.

I'm sure you could have written much, much more about your mom, but I can see what an interesting and accomplished person she was! I loved seeing the old pictures (something I always enjoy these days), and her time in service reminded me of the servants at Downton Abbey. What really impresses me is that she was the first woman constable in Staffordshire; I loved seeing her truncheon and medals on display! :) And how amazing, too, that she had such a good singing voice. She was truly blessed with many abilities, including the ability to work hard and go after what she wanted in life. I really loved reading about her and all of your family, Rose!

Please forgive my absence of visits lately; I do hope we can get back in touch again and I really hope you'll return to blogging. Now, I will finally close by saying I'm so sorry for your loss, Rose, and will be thinking of you in the days to come. Please take care of yourself.

Warm hugs,

Denise at Forest Manor

Mary said...

Oh dearest Rose, Bob and I are so very sorry to learn of your dear mother's death. Being familiar with her recent health problems I know it was a difficult time for you, however I was not expecting this news any time soon.

What an amazing and beautiful post you have written here in her memory. It's wonderful that you know so much history of her life and that you have those fabulous photos. I love the one of her serving at the Co-Op, and with your cute curly-haired brother. That was so interesting learning of her long service in the Police.

My mum (who died at 91) was also a twin to her brother, and there were a set of younger twin sisters as well as an older sister.

Losing our parents is always so sad, but thankfully we had them a long time and they were wonderful people. I love to think of your mum still singing with a choir - she's probably teaching them some new songs!

I'm thinking of you dear friend - just wish I was there to hug you. Be strong and always remember that you were a good daughter.

Much love, Mary ox

Sandies' Patch said...

What a remarkable woman! And you too to be able to post these wonderful memories.
RIP Mum.
Take care of yourself xxx

janzi said...

Losing parents is so very hard, particularly if you have been graced enough to have them grow older with you. Missing them never stops, but the above post about your mother is one that I shall be happy to have shared and thank you for setting down her life story. Very interesting and moving and just the right touch.. You also will be the outcome of all that mother and father's love and that is passed on to your own children I am sure. She seemed like quite a woman, a one off as they say* I hope your grief eases as the days pass, but thank you for sharing a wonderful protrait of an amazing woman*

Joanne Wilson said...

Rose, I'm so sorry for your loss, it's an incredibly sad time for you, I know from past posts just how you cared for your mum. A very sweet heartfelt post, take care xx

Hayley said...

Rose,
What an amazing and inspiring life your Mom had. She must have been a very special lady - How lucky you and your brother were to have had her for your Mom.
The people we love are always with us.Sending you my warmest wishes at such a difficult time xxxx

ann said...

Dearest Rose, I am so sorry that you have lost your mother, and what a hard loss it is. You have written a lovely tribute to your mom. She lived a very full and interesting life. I lost my mom in 1990 and still miss her so much, wishing often that she could see her sweet grea grandchildren. But our moms have left a wonderful legacy of love and life's lessons that we will cheish and pass on. My mother in law ended her life in a nursing home, slipping into dimentia. It was vey had to see her slip way in such a manner. Thank you for letting us know; I think of you often.

Snowbird said...

i am so very sorry to hear of your loss. your mother sounds like an incredible character, what an interesting life. i know you have had a hard time of late, what a lovely daughter you have been. huge hugs to you.xxx

Julie said...

I am so sorry for your loss. No matter how old we are when our moms die, we are then orphans. I hope the ensuing passage of time has helped heal you a bit. Your tribute to her was warm and loving, and very interesting! What a special lady. I'm glad you made peace with her at the end.

Kathy Moreland said...

Rose,
I'm so sorry for your loss. May you find peace and comfort in knowing she lived a full and interesting life. Take care of yourself.

Aril said...

What a beautiful post Rose. You paint a loving tribute of a life well lived by your dear Mom.
Arilx

Jay said...

So sorry to hear this Rose, I've been thinking of you. You have written a beautiful tribute to your Mum here, take care x

acorn hollow said...

Oh Rose I am so sorry I am also sorry I am just getting here.
Your mom was an amazing lady and had just a beautiful smile.
No matter how old we are it is awful to lose our mom.
Thinking of you
Cathy

fabriquefantastique said...

what great photos and a wonderful story, thank you for sharing your mums story with us.

Vintage Jane said...

Rose, somehow I missed this post. I am so sorry to read of your loss of your mum. What a wonderful article you wrote about her and what a full life she led. I'm sure you will cherish all your happy memories.
M x