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We should all make time to visit our parents - not just on Mother's Day

PUBLISHED: 14:30 24 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:30 24 March 2019

Flowers in bloom at Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Flowers in bloom at Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

I always await the arrival of March with eager anticipation.

Even though it usually arrives like a lion (and it has not disappointed this year with our fair share of gales, sleet, hail and rain), I am ever hopeful it will depart like a lamb, as the old proverb states.

March heralds the arrival of spring, with newborn lambs gambolling in the fields and trees bursting with blossom, multitudes of daffodils along our roadsides and in parks and gardens, all bobbing their heads in what seems like a sea of yellow, and crocuses and other spring flowers peeping through the earth at the first sign of sunshine.

It is the month when the clocks go forward and our daylight hours become longer. Garden centres are once again ablaze with colour, as spring bulbs and plants go on sale.

March, usually, also contains one very special day - Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day, as it is now more commonly called.

Mothering Sunday has been celebrated in UK and Ireland since the 16th century and it began with the religious purpose to honour and give thanks to the Virgin Mary, requiring people to visit their ‘mother’ church and to make it a family occasion. Domestic servants and apprentices were given the day off to visit their mother and join in the celebrations.

Over the years the religious tradition evolved and became an occasion to thank and appreciate all mothers, by the giving of flowers or gifts.

In the US, however, it all began in 1908, when Anna Jarvis of West Virginia held celebrations as a tribute to her late mother, pushing for this idea to become a holiday to celebrate all mothers. President Woodrow Wilson eventually granted it in 1914, naming it Mother’s Day, which takes place there in May.

Hopefully, most of us will pay regular visits to our mums and not wait for one special day, but there are many out there who, for one reason or another, very seldom see their children or even receive a phone call.

Several years ago I read an article written by Fiona Phillips, the television presenter, who said that the saddest news she had heard that particular week was that people were increasingly becoming ‘too busy’ to visit their parents. She went on to say she felt that ‘too busy’ and ‘parents’ should not even be in the same sentence.

Even back then, a survey had revealed that one in 10 people had admitted to not having seen their mother or father for at least a year, some barely telephoned and others said they did not make enough effort to stay in touch with their parents.

Mother’s Day for these mums must be very sad.

For me, Mother’s Day is a time of mixed emotions - I love seeing my own children on this special day but as my mum passed away in 2002, I still get a pang when I see all the cards and gifts on display in the shops and, sometimes, even after all these years, I have to look away. I imagine many who have lost their mothers may feel the same way.

I always visited my mum regularly and of course I still ‘visit’ her now, even though she is no longer with us, but on Mother’s Day, as I place my flowers upon her grave, the words that I have so often seen written as a tribute, when someone has lost their mum, will ring in my ears.

If you have a mother, love her while you may. Because I wish, with all my heart, that mine was here today.

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