This is me sitting on my great grandmother’s knee in 1958
Today, on Remembrance day, I choose to remember May, my great grandmother, I do remember her as a little round lady who wound her plaits around her head, had a whiskery chin and a tin full of sweeties on her table.
I didn’t know her as a young woman growing up as daughter to the village butcher, nor as the girl who rode her horse too fast. I didn’t know her as she married Norman, the son of the village brewer. I didn’t know her as she gave birth to six children in the first 15 years of the 1900s. I didn’t know her as Norman left for France, nor did I know her when the letter came that he was missing in action. I didn’t know her as she held her family together or how she felt about her sons joining up. I didn’t know her when a year later the letter came that Norman was alive but had been injured, I didn’t know her when her disabled husband returned, nor when she had 2 more children. I didn’t know her as every day for more than 40 more years she looked at her husband knowing he had survived where many hadn’t, yet had injuries that changed his mind and body perhaps beyond recognition.
I know little of my other three great grandmothers or eight great grandmothers. All I know is that I, just like you come from a long line of strong women who gave birth to a daughter who became a mother, and did the best they could with what they had.
This story was left untold for 50 years, we did not know it to remember it. Now I can share it with you, and your story will have a mother who saw her husband, brothers or sons changed by war. On remembrance day or any day take a moment to remember her.
Do you want to be the mother your grandmother would be proud of?