1 EAGLETON NOTES: Mo

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Thursday, 19 July 2018

Mo

One of the wonderful things that comes with age can be the longevity of friendships.

During a life one has friendships that can last a lifetime or be brief but deep during the brevity. Sometimes siblings can be friends as well as relations.  Friendships come in all shapes and sizes.

My longest friendship dates from when we were four years old. My second longest would be with my brother who was born when I was 5 but, obviously, the friendship would have come later than that. My third longest started when I was 16 and Mo was 17. This is about that friendship.

How do you condense nearly 60 years of friendship into a few paragraphs?

Our extensive correspondence goes back only half a century to Mo’s first letter of January 8th, 1968 but our friendship goes back to 1961 when we joined Liverpool Corporation’s Town Clerk’s Department as Junior Clerks.

We formed an immediate alliance and became inseparable work-friends.

We went to University together to read Public Administration. We had day release from the Corporation. Whilst other students went off carousing and doing what students do we went back to work. I had acquired ‘The Hypogryph’ (a Vespa scooter) and we went up to Uni on it and travelled between lectures on it. I think it was the first time I’d ever had a girl put her hands around me and hug me so tightly (even if it was simply to stop her falling off!).

Mo would have become the first senior female officer in the Department - of that there is no doubt.

However The Fates decided otherwise and she gave up a very promising career for love and Canada (and left the promotion door wide open for me).

We were never boyfriend/girlfriend (as relationships were referred to then) but even so it came as a jolt when she married in 1965.

However our friendship survived and, in a strange way, when I married 5 years later, our friendship grew stronger despite the fact that we were living on different continents.

Mo had two passions: her daughters and travel.

Over the last 30 years years Mo and I have shared some of Mo’s passion for travel. Mo was the perfect travelling companion. She showed me a lot of Ontario including Tobermory (we never did get to Scotland’s Tobermory) with skirmishes into the US. We toured in Europe and the UK.

For a decade until recently I lived half the year in New Zealand and Mo and her elder daughter, Fiona, who lives in Australia visited me on several occasions and I visited them in Australia.

However, I think that the two most outstanding recent family occasions in my memory were her 60th and 70th birthdays. The former was at the Little Inn in Bayfield in Ontario and Mo had no idea that Fiona and I would be there. 

Mo’s 70th celebration was a small and absolutely wonderful occasion. Mo rented a villa in Tuscany. Mo, Diane and I set off in The Nighthawk from Diane’s in England and drove through France, Switzerland and Northern Italy until we arrived in what was to be a couple of weeks in heaven with Fiona, Heather and Jefferey (Mo's younger daughter and her husband).  I blogged about the trip starting in August 2012 here.

Mo’s last visit to me was last December. The last trip we made together was to Harris. I think that we had arrived at a time in our lives and relationship when two people are completely comfortable with each other.

Just over 5 weeks ago Mo had a massive stroke leaving her with her cognitive functions but little ability to move any part of her body. Thanks to modern technology and her daughters I was able to talk to her several times by video link before she died peacefully. One of my greatest sadnesses is that, for medical reasons, I couldn't be there in person.

The celebration of her life was held today. I added my thanks for her life.

Mo, you have provided me with a lifetime of friendship and memories.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Wherever you are, be happy.

48 comments:

  1. A lovely tribute to a very dear friend. You will miss her, and I send you my condolences. I am sorry too that you couldn't be with her at the end, but at least you could talk with her. I am sure she knew how much you cared for her, Graham, and you're lucky to have had a friendship that was so good and lasted for so long.

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    1. Thank you, Jenny, for your lovely comment. I was, indeed, very fortunate to have such a friendship.

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  2. I'm so pleased you were able to see and talk to Mo in those last days. I'm sure you didn't want to farewell her yet but a lifetime of friendship and a chance to say goodbye is a wonderful legacy.

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    1. Kylie, it's only now that it's over that I've realised the importance of the opportunity I had to say goodbye.

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  3. What a loving tribute to Mo. It sounds like you were indeed fortunate to have known one another. Please accept my condolences.

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    1. Thank you Pipistrello. I 'm glad it sounded loving.

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  4. O Graham your account of the platonic friendship that you had with Mo is truly a rare gift. Thank you very much indeed for sharing Mo with us and may peace be always in your heart and mind.

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    1. Thank you, Heron, for your lovely words.

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  5. My sympathy to you for the loss of a special friend. Not many people have a relationship for that long. You wrote a great tribute to your friend. Major strokes are an extremely devastating event for all.

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    1. Thank you Red for your generous comment.

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  6. "Death is never sad if the gift of life was well used". It sounds like you shared a wonderful life, even though you lived miles apart. Of course losing old friends is 'sad', but with good memories it helps ease the pain.

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    1. Cro, I've never heard that quotation before. I shall use the sentiment it conveys and take comfort from it. In an odd way, though, I'm feeling that it's the wonderful memories and knowing that they are only memories that is part of the pain.

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  7. Very poignant Graham. You were lucky with this relationship.

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    1. Adrian, I could not have been luckier with a friendship.

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  8. The line - if there is a line at all - between friendship and love is fuzzy, as your friendship with Mo shows. You two loved each other as true friends, and shared not just decades but also important and decisive times in your lives. I am sorry Mo is no longer physically there to join you on trips, but in your mind, she always will be.

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    1. Meike, I think you are absolutely correct: the line between love and friendship is very fuzzy. I know that Mo and I loved each other very dearly from day one until the last day of our friendship. Fortunately we recognised that the friendship probably wouldn't have survived a different sort of relationship such as marriage. Well, certainly at the age when we might have gone down that route.

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  9. How very moving GB - the finality of death is quite overwhelming at times and losing friends and family so close to us really hits hard. This is a reminder that life is not a dress rehearsal - but so glad you have such made so many wonderful memories with Mo. I agree with Mieke - she will still always be in your mind and your heart, particularly when you go on trips.

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    1. Thanks you Fi. We have all known the emotions of death but, for some reason - absence, loss or whatever - Mo's sudden, unexpected death has been very emotional.

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  10. This is a very noving and touching story of friendship Graham. I have a similar friendship story and I truly feel for your loss. You were there for eachother before others came into the picture. It was a special kind of love that truly transsends time and space. She will necer be forgotten and always a part of you. Again, I am very sorry for your loss and this was an amazing tribute.

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    1. Mersad, thank you very much for your visit and words. I'm glad that you have a similar friendship story. Such relationships are special.

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  11. I only knew Mo for a few short years but always enjoyed her visits to the Isle of Lewis. The last time, earlier this year, we had a lovely day out - just the two of us, exploring the "touristy" parts of the island. The weather was terrible but the more it rained the more we laughed. Thank you for that day Mo - I shall always treasure it. You were a very special lady and it was a real pleasure knowing you.

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    1. Thank you Pat. You were wonderful. Mo enjoyed her time with you.

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  12. The joy comes through, even in your sadness. I am so sorry for the loss of your good friend.

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    1. Thank you Bob. We did have a lot of joy. I'm glad that came through.

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  13. I remember your posting about when Mo and you were traveling together. Sad that she is gone. But, oh the memories that you can hold dear to your heart and in your head forever and ever.

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    1. Thank you Donna. I really appreciate your words.

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  14. A lovely tribute to Mo and your years-long friendship. Sorry she is gone, but oh so glad you had each other for such a long time.

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    1. Thank you Jill. It was a long time and we appreciated it.

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  15. You have made me cry Graham. Farewell to Mo. May she rest in peace and may your memories of her continue to glow as the years pass by.

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    1. Thank you Neil. Your words are comforting.

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  16. What a lovely tribute, Graham. I'm so sorry you've lost such a dear friend. AS one old friend once wrote to me: "you know where I come from". New friends, however good, can never replace the old ones, since they have only seen the tip of one's (life) iceberg. A close friend lost her sister last week, and we have talked since of all those shared memories that only a sibling really knows. You and Mo obviously had a lot of very special memories - not much consolation now, but perhaps in the future.

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    1. I'm glad, Frances, that you thought it was a lovely tribute. You are certainly right in that new friendships can be very satisfying and deep but they always lack the 'knowledge of history of youth'.

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  17. What a lovely tribute to a dear, longstanding friend and what a myriad of memories for you to treasure. My ex husband died last Saturday and I'm not sure how I feel about that yet so I'm just focusing on supporting my daughters.

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    1. Jennyta, I'm sorry to hear of your loss. However you might feel about it there it represents the loss of a period of shared memories: many of which your daughters will also share.

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  18. A lovely tribute GB. Our condolences on the loss of such a special friend, xx

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    1. Thank you both, Helen. She was a very special friend.

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  19. I love friendships like that. I have a lot and I mean a lot of friends but only a few close really good ones I would trust with my life. Yours was like that I think. So sorry for your loss though but there is no condensing so many years into something little, you can look back and be thankful you both made a difference in each others lives.

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    1. Thank you for those thoughts, Amy. I would certainly have entrusted my life to Mo without hesitation.

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  20. I thought about you many times yesterday Graham. It was a very sad day for you but your eulogy will have given her family a great deal of comfort and a good few things to think about that perhaps they didn’t know about their mother.

    We were in a very reflective mood yesterday too. It was the 6th anniversary of our daughters funeral. It still seems such an unreal event but I re read some of the lovely messages and cards that we received at the time talking about our daughter but their very special friend. I know they have all moved on with their lives but a few of them ( and not necessarily the ones that I thought would still be corresponding with us) got in contact via the internet and Facebook. It’s very comforting to know that she is still lives on in her friends memories as she does in ours. Life is very short for some but some of them bring great joy and friendship to others.

    B xx

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Beverley. It was quite an honour to be asked to write the eulogy even if it had to be delivered for me.

      I can understand your reflective mood for such a particularly sad time.

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  21. Beautiful words for a beautiful friend
    My sympathies and prayers for your loss

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    1. Thank you Maywyn: very much appreciated.

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  22. So sorry to hear about your loss, Graham - I know that she (and your friendship) meant a lot to you. I think it's always hard to be far away when someone dear to you passes away (makes it even harder to grasp the fact somehow). I hope you can take some comfort in the fact that it was not all that long ago since you last got to meet her face to face, though - and also that you were able to talk via the internet even closer to the end of her life. (I also agree with everyone else above that this summary of your friendship is a lovely way to say a last farewell even if you could not be "there" in person.) May your memories of your friendship continue to be a source of thankfulness even if now also tinged with the sadness that always comes with loss. ♥

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    1. Thank you Monica. As you surmised, how I feel would have been a lot worse if Mo hadn't been staying with me so recently.

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  23. GB - Thanks for sharing this special person, Mo, with us. When you lose someone, it's helpful to get them down on paper, as it were... publishing the words is like putting a flag or a stone on the top of a hill one has climbed - it says "I was here, they were here, we were here together." I remember when my father died, I went back many days and re-read the things I had written about him. It was like visiting, in a way. Here's to good memories, to good friends, and to love - in whatever forms we are lucky enough to experience it.

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    1. Mrs S. You have hit the proverbial nail on its proverbial head. Writing the post (which was derived from the eulogy which I wrote for the service) and all the comments has given me great comfort. As has having my New Zealand Family (who knew Mo) with me.

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  24. What a beautifully written piece you have given us here, Graham. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend but just from your post, I appreciate what a special person she must have been. I am glad that you were able to speak with her after the stroke. My dear mother-in-law survived her stroke in March but one month later, she was gone, and I never got to speak with her. May your dear, dear friend rest in peace.

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    1. Thank you Kay. I'm so sorry that you didn't have the opportunity to speak to your mother-in-law. Being able to do so was very important to me.

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