My mother Mollie Martin (Foley) was one in a million,
Amanda Martin-Shaver ©
she was the second to youngest daughter of seven siblings,
of 3 brothers and 3 sisters, born November 26th 1913
Mum grew up in Eastbourne, Wellington, the Capitol City of New
Zealand and traveled to school across the harbour by ferry.
She always told my brothers and I, that she came from a family
with a lot of love and laughter. Oh the stories she would relate that
one of her brothers was a prankster and get her into trouble for
laughing at the table
When Mum was in her mid twenties she answered an advertisement
to come north to look after a motherless boy and his widowed father
The two elder boys from this family were older and out working
Yep you guessed it this man later turned out to become my father.
A year after they were married they had their first daughter
then four years later a son, it was about this time that
Dad bought a business forty miles away out in the boonies,
where there was no on-line electricity, water or sewerage
Kerosene lamps for lighting, rain water caught in a tank
from the roof overflow, and an outhouse
I always admired my mother that she could go from a rather
wealthy upbringing of all the amenities to be able to cope and
flourish in outdated surroundings, not only that but she was to
learn to milk the cow, feed chickens and by gosh kill them,
pluck them and cook em, plus cook copious quantities of food
for the staff and run after her children.
By the time my elder brother and I were born five years,
then another three years later, they had a powerhouse of their own.
When I was six Dad sold the business and bought some land further
around the road where he stayed during the week and came home
at the weekends.
Mum moved back to their home which had been rented out,
and as the tenants had not paid rental in a long while and
had let the house run down, it was a real mess.
She got to work with one of my step brothers who just so happened
was a carpenter by trade, and they remodeled the house
inside and out, in time for my sisters wedding.
My mother was the mainstay in my life for these ten years
until my father retired and came to live with us permanently.
Mum was very strong willed, she had to because otherwise my Dad
would have dominated her and they would not have been partners.
Mum was an expert sportswoman, she was extremely good at the sports
she played and she always said if it was not for the second world war,
she would have gone far with her tennis, because there was no woman
who could match her, so she had to play against the men.
When she lived back in Taihape she took up croquet, and soon was as
expert in this sport where she kept her handicap right up until
she could not play anymore.
I loved my mother dearly, but I have to confess that her character
was much stronger than mine and I obeyed her right up until she died.
There were times that I was angry and because she would not back off
I had to enlist the support of my two brothers to get her off my back.
I know she loved me even if she did not say so, but her dreams were not
always my dreams. I just wished we could have talked more openly during
my informative years, warned about the pitfalls of life.
My mother had a massive aneurysm when she was seventy nine,
the aorta split, she was hospitalized at our local hospital overnight,
then ambulanced to one of the city hospitals in our service area
of Wanganui, where she stayed a few hours before being flown by
helicopter down to Wellington. My sister and brothers drove by car,
then had to retrace to drive south to Wellington.
Mum underwent a nine hour operation to repair the aorta and have
a pace maker placed in her heart. For six weeks she was virtually
in a coma, because of the medication. She survived this huge
operation this late in life, as I was and still am the only
christian in the family I was praying like mad.
My mum came home to Taihape hospital for a few weeks before
she was released to go back home to her little apartment.
We bought her a mobile scooter and she would zoom around town.
Two years later she had another operation for contusions she had
suffered from for years. She came out of this, Jesus was in control.
All this time I was witnessing to Mum.
Another year later, Mum got bad pneumonia and the damage
done to her lungs, they got spongy, she was diagnosed with cancer.
We all reeled in shock, Mum had fought all these other battles
and won, and now she was looking down the barrel of cancer.
My mother had had many operations over the years, gallstones, gallbladder,
appendicitis, tonsillitis, badly cut arm that had lots of stitches,
falling down stairs and hurting her ankle so badly that she was in
and out of plaster with the complaint for years. She broke her arm
a couple of years before the aneurysm and came to live with us for
several weeks because she could not manage.
Well a lovely wonderful thing happened after she was diagnosed with
cancer. Mum and I were travelling to my sisters for a visit;
somehow the subject of Jesus came up. Mum said to me that she had,
had three consecutive dreams that Jesus appeared to her.
Yes she gave Him her life to be in His safekeeping.
The joy I felt was amazing, I could let her go, so I said to her,
knowing she would be in good hands and we would see each other again.
It was in July of 1997 that my mother suffered a major stroke,
that left her, that she could not speak other than to say yes or no,
but sometimes in their wrong content.
My siblings, spouses and I rallied around the clock to be with her,
we would just try everything we could think of, to understand
what she was trying to tell us. This was the hardest time,
to see Mum after her major operation was hard with all the wires
etc but we were assured she would survive.
This time we knew she would not, it would just be a matter of time.
A couple of times while she was in the hospital she got really
low and we were told that she could go any time, but no,
Jesus was not ready yet.
Three months she was in this state, and it was the hardest
we her family had to endure, this woman who had been the backbone
of our family, a well dressed lady who took pride in her appearance
and looked so much younger than her eighty two years.
She was well liked and respected by many around her large circle of
friends and aquintences, did not seem to know what was happening around her.
On September the 11th she passed away in her sleep, and her funeral
was held on September the 15th my Mum and Dad's wedding anniversary.
One month to the day later, my Mothers youngest sister who was healthy
as a horse, died suddenly, we had to endure this agony again of a
funeral for a loved one, then two weeks later my mothers elder
sister died, she had been sick off and on for a long time.
In six weeks her family was gone, other siblings of my mother
had passed on years earlier.
The rest of that year I must have been in God's grace because
I coped and thought I had let her go.
However, it was the next year when it seemed to hit me the most,
anger, frustration, hurt you name it came at me what seems out of
the blue. My eyes were opened how much I was weak and obeyed her
when I should have stood up to her in my adulthood.
I am glad that awful year has now passed, it is healing time again
for me at last. This has been helpful to write down about my dear Mum.
I loved her very much and I miss her.
21 April 2000
Amanda Martin-Shaver ©