Shirlstock 2018

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Forget the stress. Remember my mum.

With any excuse to organise a get together, dress up, act silly and most importantly get all of my family together; rest assured my mum Shirl would find one! She loved it. Loved having loads of family and friends around her and I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by family, laughter and love because of it.

I had no idea growing up how much work and dedication must have gone into these ‘shindigs’ that Shirl always sorted. I must have assumed that they were easy since they seemed to be standard and she took everything in her stride regardless of the everyday responsibilities of having children, a full time job and a mother with Alzheimer’s. I know now that I never appreciated how life so easily gets in the way to make way for family events and before you know it, it’s been months and even years. A massive role to fill and not one I believed that I could do, and certainly not to her standards. 

Determined to at least try, I was even more adamant that not only would I keep trying to have family get-togethers, I would do it so that I had the opportunity of remembering my mum and how amazing she was by making the party in her honour. That way, everyone gets to remember her, which is important for those who knew her. For those who were unfortunate to never meet her- wow did they miss out, but the party gives them a pretty good idea and lets them smile and laugh because of her.

Months of organising, (being ever grateful to everyone who lent a hand) was stressful. Enjoyable but stressful. The success of smaller parties in previous years left me feeling a little overwhelmed of bettering them and the enormity of it was pressing.

My wonderful husband, family and friends surrounded me in love and support and selflessly helped to host the most amazing day of 2018. Everyone was smiling, laughing and most importantly, living. No matter what was happening in their lives at that moment- it was all about Shirl and the effect that she had left as her legacy.

It helps with grief too I suppose. Feeling that guilt sometimes when you suddenly have that ‘pang’ of missing your mum and then struggling to remember what it was like with her around when she wasn’t ill, frail and in decline is horrendous. I just wanted to be able to remember her vibrant, loud and outgoing pure personality, and this helped. Kind of like she was there? The sun was shining and it was perfect. We even managed to raise nearly £2000 for our chosen charity this year too.

So forget the stress. Remember my mum.

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