Friday, July 11, 2014

The cycle of life

It’s been a while since my last post. It’s been a tumultuous half year. My beautiful grandson Louis arrived January 29, while at the other end of the life cycle, his great grandmother (my Mum) exited this lifetime a month short of her 90th birthday. The cycle of life prompted some thinking.
Louis is a perfect example of all that I promote and Mum went out untroubled by doctors and nurses, another theme that runs in the family. But let’s go back to the beginning of my interest in health and wellbeing. As a young emigrant from the smog of Glasgow, the Australian climate had not worked the miracle cure. My maternal grandmother was incapacitated by severe asthma, until in desperation she consulted a naturopath. It was a decision considered remarkably daring in the 30s, but one that would have a dramatic effect on my grandmother’s health, and one that would also significantly affect my own health and the course of my life. My grandmother adhered faithfully to the naturopath’s recommendations and lived out her 86 years in rude good health. 
My Mum, who was as a consequence, raised on a wholefood diet, saw no reason for her own children to eat differently. The meals that Mum served up consisted largely of loads of fresh vegetables and fruit, some wholemeal bread, fish and a little cheese. A barbecue on Sundays provided our only red meat, and with it, ironically, enough carcinogens to kill us all – my Dad never understanding any degree of ‘doneness’ other than charred. But apart from this one transgression, our diet was a daring model for its time. Mum used no salt in her cooking and a cake made with wholemeal flour and raw sugar was an infrequent treat. All our meals, including school lunches, were prepared at home from scratch. I was the only child at school who didn’t drink the milk provided and who never ate the sandwiches from the canteen – although I did long for chocolate spread on white bread. At the school Christmas party I always hoped Mum would bake cupcakes with blue icing and silver balls on top – surprisingly, it was my own plate of brown bread and red salmon that always disappeared from the party table first. 
In the weeks since Mum died, I’ve been involved in the sort out of her home and have had frequent cause to reflect on the legacy she left, which of course has nothing to do with the many “things” but everything to do with the people she touched and how she touched them. Mum was a hoarder, never throwing anything away but all of her hoardings were as nothing compared to the devoted mothering that her daughters, her grandsons and great grandsons and daughter received. Her passion for looking after her own health and wellbeing has also carried down through generations. Vale Stan.

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