Mum Ryan (how she always signed cards to Colin, particularly after his own Mum passed some years ago) had a long and glorious life (she would have turned 89 next month, on December 20th) and will be sorely missed by all of us. We're bearing up. In her honour. All of us. For now...
Mum married the only man she ever loved, my gentleman father Daniel Ryan, and together they raised four children, though they sadly lost another three before my siblings and I came along. There were many trips to Lourdes as she and Dad found the strength to keep trying. Now she's with Dad again. In his arms. Mum's beliefs, you see, were unshakable: remarkable, really, for a woman who, along with Dad, sacrificed so much to give each of us what we have.
Mum travelled the world with Dad, back to his birth land of America, into Mexico, to Canada, across Europe and many other places. She was a talented and respected piano tutor (when we bought our Glasgow house she gave us her Collard and Collard Baby Grand piano and, as recently as last year, still thrilled in playing it when she came to visit) she learned Italian, taught RE - as an auxiliary teacher - she was a graphic illustrator for a time and she cooked (and baked and gardened) like no one else. And she had an unstoppable, unquenchable joie de vivre: a talent to which I can only aspire - and I'm a positive thinker. I've always been a glass half (to three quarters) full kind of person - rather than a glass half empty - but my Mum was ALWAYS a full glass of wonder for everything she touched. Always.
The little pic of Mum in the pink cardigan was taken just 10 weeks ago - by which point she'd made an unexpected recovery from her 10 year on and off battle with cancer. For this betterment we thank the staff at The Highland Hospice, a team of people who, as far as we're concerned, are other worldly. They brought our best girl back from the brink and released her: something, we imagine, that doesn't happen that often in a hospice. But her recovery would only last a few months and after a short sojourn in Urray House, a lovely Highland rest home, Mum became poorly again. We all held our breath... A few weeks ago she went back to the beautiful team at THH for her final care.
I'm sorry this has been a long, rambling message (my Mum would be MORTIFIED I've gone on so long) but I just wanted you to get a feel for our girl. She was - and for all of us will remain - a shining light. A beacon. A never ending source of inspiration. And the best Mum (and Mum in law and grand mother) for whom any of us could have ever hoped.
So sleep tight, dearest Mum. You'll be forever in our thoughts. Forever in our hearts. Guiding the decisions we make. In that frank, honest and celebratory way you always did. Thank you.
Justin and Colin, Damian and Tricia, Colette and Alan and Carmel and David. And Colette's and Alan's three children Oliver, Elliot and Lucy and Carmel and David's boys Maxwell and Fergus xx