Mother’s Day and my son’s birthday are very close together, he arrived just after what I always consider my first Mother’s Day. I still have the tea cosy I bought myself in preparation for any sleepless nights that might have been ahead. But he was one of those wonderful children who slept through the night, almost from the beginning but try to get him to have an afternoon nap, that was a different story. Here is an early photo of the two of us. We have aged a bit since then and we will be catching up this Sunday at my mother’s place. Hopefully we might get all of my brother’s family there too.
I tend to procrastinate a bit and my favourite thing to do when procrastinating is to trawl through Trove. This time I wanted to see if there was any additional information on the death of my great grandmother Dorcas White nee Trevaskis. Years ago I located her funeral notice on microfilm but never found anything else around the time of her death. Dorcas died in Brisbane in 1935 but she had lived most of her life in Charters Towers.
This time I found numerous in memoriam notices for her from her daughters. What I have found truly moving are the little verses included with the basic details.
The first notice was from her youngest daughter Ivy in The Telegraph in 1936 the year after her mother’s death. ‘You left behind some aching hearts, that loved you most sincere, that never have and never will, forget you mother dear.’
In 1937, again in The Telegraph, Ivy said ‘God saw the road was weary, the hill too steep to climb, so he gently closed her weary eyes, and whispered Peace be Thine.’
Then there is a gap until 1943, when Ivy put this notice in The Telegraph, ‘A beautiful memory dearer than gold, a mother whose worth can never be told, a loving smile, a happy face, a broken link we can never replace.’
That same year Ivy’s sister Mag (Margaret) also included a verse ‘In the world beyond, the great here after, when we who have loved will be one again, I’ll know you then by the sound of your laughter, learnt here on a road of pain, I’ll look for a face that smiled all bravely, over life’s puzzles too hard to guess, I’ll listen for a voice that always gave me, courage and long for the road’s distress, and if some angel should vaguely wonder, whom I am seeking for over there, I tell them death cannot sunder, those who are ever in God’s care.’
Their eldest sister Frances also contributed that year and wrote ‘This be our strength as years go by, the one we loved can never die, in memory she lingers still, and in our hearts she always will, and knowing this how can we say, the one we loved has passed away‘.
Three years later in 1946 there was another family posting of tributes in The Telegraph. Ivy wrote ‘Though years bring much that is altered, and days bring much that is new, there is one thing that never will alter, our love and memory of you Dear Mother‘.
Mag wrote ‘As the ivy clings to the oak, so shall our memory cling to thee‘ and Frances wrote ‘Just eleven years ago today, she was taken home to rest, it hurt far more than I can say, but we all know God knows best‘. This time their other sister Doris also wrote a tribute ‘As we loved you, so we miss you, in our memory you are dear, loved remembered longed for always, as it dawns another year‘.
The following year 1947 Ivy and Doris had a joint tribute ‘Of all the gifts of Heaven above, the greatest gift was our mother’s love, her cheerful smile and heart of gold, the dearest mother this world could hold’. Frances wrote ‘She is safe in the keeping of Jesus, away from all sorrow and care, in the beautiful kingdom of heaven, she is waiting to welcome us there, time goes on and memory stays, near and dear as yesterday‘.
Mag’s tribute was to both Dorcas and her husband Herbert who had died in 1924 – ‘Treasured memories of them so dear, are oft recalled with a silent tear, sleep on dear ones and take thy rest, we loved you well but Jesus loved you best‘.
I haven’t found any other tributes but these clearly show that Dorcas was loved by her children and left wonderful memories with those she left behind. Her other daughter Alice, my grandmother, was not included in any of these in memoriam notices and I can only speculate that as a widow with a family she was not in a financial position to make similar tributes. Dorcas’ son Herbert made one notice in 1943 simply saying ‘Always remembered’. He was also included in one of Ivy’s and one of Doris’ tributes which makes me wonder why Alice’s siblings didn’t include her too. Perhaps there are other tributes still to be found.
In memoriam notices can tell us more about our families and their relationships with those who have gone before and with each other. But they can also raise questions which may not have answers. Mother’s Day is a day that we not only remember our own mother but also our grandmothers and our maternal lines. Enjoy Mother’s Day 2016.