One month ago, I woke up not knowing my life was about to be changed forever. Mum, who lived next door and who has provided “granny-school” for my children through this whole pandemic, died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage. At 68, Mum was full of life, a keen wild swimmer and a protector of all wildlife. In the light of our shock and loss, we examine the enormous importance of motherhood and celebrate my dear Mum, Pat, the woman who came up with the idea for CraftCourses.
From a Mother's Day card Kate gave to Pat. Artwork from The Natural Parent Magazine.
Mum, Mama, Mom, Mummy, Mam... whatever name you use, our mothers make us and raise us. This week, with Mother’s Day around the corner, reminders of the mother figures in our lives are everywhere. And this conjures all sorts of deep feelings doesn't it? Maybe memories of a (sometimes dubious) breakfast in bed, homemade cards, extra cuddles, affection and smiles all day. As we get older those messy mornings turn into walks, reassuring chats, cuppas, cakes and maybe laughter with grandchildren as the cycle continues.
I am mindful that ours are not the only broken hearts this Mother's Day. This year is especially poignant, as we emerge from the isolation of the pandemic with complicated feelings of hope, tinged with loss and separation. Our Prime Minister warned us early on in the pandemic that 'many people would lose loved ones' and I remember the chill I felt. But there are also many of us for whom Mother's Day is a poignant reminder of what is not. Those who have lost children, suffered infertility or miscarriage and carry with them the emptiness and loss that can bring.
Kate, the late Sam & baby Lynn with Pat on the beach in Pembrokeshire 1986
Happy memories are a wonderful thing, and we can look forward to more, but some years are just going to be different.
This may be the year in which you cannot give your mum a hug, take her a homemade cake or surprise her with flowers. As a mum, you may be looking forward to an online call and a card through the post rather than your usual lunch and much-loved mayhem.
There are all kinds of Mums and this year there will be all kinds of Mother's Days, but we intend to celebrate all marvellous mother figures in any and every way we can.
One such marvel is my Mum, Pat Dew ?
Pat on a Bluetits holiday at Llanberis
Mum’s heart was a big one. Open, warm, generous, welcoming, filled with joy, always finding the humour; seeking to connect and to make people feel loved and wanted.
Mum was “all about the people”.
Growing up as one of six children, Mum was part of the Mardall clan, with its unique humour, love and fierce loyalty. Mum was good at allowing others to make their own mistakes – supporting our life choices without judgement; and being ever-present to talk through problems, books, politics and share many laughs.
Pat in her element, off the coast of West Wales, with her pals in the Bluetits chill swimmers group.
Mum would have laughed if we called her Supermum, but we all knew she was one. Mum provided top notch "granny-school" for our children throughout the whole of lockdown - and they all adored her. Mum & the kids set up a pizza delivery service in the first lockdown and the children loved baking their own dough, creating whacky toppings and then traipsing through our shared garden to bring us lunch with great gusto. We always enjoyed her company, there was so much chat, laughter & she was always pleased to see us.
Mum thought up the idea for me to start CraftCourses and fulfil my dream of being my own boss. Having run The Rocking Horse Shop near York for 20 odd years along with our Dad, Mum knew that a project focused on the sharing of craftsmanship would be a popular one. With encouragement and nurturing, the idea was brought to life and all these years later, it still grows stronger every day. In this way and many others, Mum will never leave us; her ideas, her energy, her heart and soul will be part of our lives going forward and part of your lives too through this site. We have a lot to be grateful for.
Maybe as you got older you realised (shock horror) that your mum is many things to many people. She is also someone’s friend, lover, wife, colleague, muse, swimming buddy, teacher and so much more. Maybe she became your inspiration with her love and kindness towards others, her strength and duty that showed you how to do things, and sometimes, how not to!
The bonds we forge with our mothers are echoed across our lives like threads in a beautiful tapestry that everyone we touch will continue to weave.
Mum’s tapestry is a bold, colourful, vast creation filled with laughter, love, family, friends and the ocean.
Lynn and I will miss her immeasurably, as will her sisters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, brothers and many friends. One last hug, dip, cwtch or laugh would be perfect wouldn't it? But here she still is in all her love and glory, in our photographs, memories, the laughter in your ears and the threads in our tapestry.
We can't all be lucky enough to live next door to our mum, or even to have lots in common, but we all have special moments with our loved ones. We are all holding on together; mothers, fathers, daughters, sons and friends. So, together we will reflect and remember, we will laugh, cry and cherish. We will hold our loved ones a little bit longer, cry a little bit easier, and remind ourselves how lucky we are for whatever time we had or will get together.
How do we celebrate when our hearts are broken? Or our journey seems so unsure? We take a leaf out of Mum’s book, that’s what we do.
We break the rules, we push the boundaries, we love hard and laugh harder, we challenge the norm and never accept anything less than amazing. We open our hearts and offer love around, we give a hoot and run into the freezing sea when everyone else is running the other way.
Written by Suki Baynton on behalf of Kate Dewmartin
Pat with her daughters, sons in law and grandchildren on a wonderful day at Mwnt, near Cardigan.
Finally, I would like to share with you a poem which Mum left for us, which gives us this wish;
When I die
give what's left of me away
and old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
cry for your sister
walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
put your arms
and give them
what you need to give me....
I want to leave you something,
Look for me
in the people I've known
And if you cannot give me away
At least let me live in your eyes
And not your mind.
You can love me most
Hands touch hands
By letting bodies touch bodies
And by letting go
that need to be free.
Love doesn't die, people do.
So, when all that's left of me is love, give me away.
By Merrit Molloy