REFLECTIONS ON THE LOSS OF A PARENT. From John Rowland
Unlike most children, I suppose, I had never felt really close to my parents. Not that we had any difficulties in our relationships – I simply remember feeling pretty much self-contained. My father was killed in a motor cycle accident before I was born, and so my mother was a working woman while I was looked after by grandparents. Then at age 10 I was given an option; would I like to go to a boarding school where I had been offered a scholarship? It was only when my mother was about 70 that she told me how devastated she had felt when I – her only son – chose to go away. It was from school to RAF, then to University, and then marriage, so I was pretty much the son absent from her life.
I became a follower of Jesus in the RAF, and when I was baptised, my mother declined the invitation to attend; after all, she had already seen me ‘done’ as a baby. There were no hard feelings – we just were not that close.
It was also in her 70’s that she too made a commitment to follow Jesus and was baptised – and life changed as she was filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit.
She lived with Jill and I here in Steyning for a while before going into a nursing home, and it was there that one afternoon she quietly slipped away to be with her Lord. I was phoned the news at school and set out to drive home. It was in the course of that 15 minute drive that I found myself saying out loud ‘Well run, Mum!’. She had not had an easy life, and I felt I had not done a great deal as a son to get close to her. But yes, we did love one another, and I was genuinely thankful for the freedom she had allowed me in life.
She had run a great race under difficult circumstances and to this day I remain thankful for all she did for me, with so little in return from me.