In memoriam: Leonora de Vries
My mother touched many people's lives in different ways. She came from a large family of eight children. She raised two children, whom she often referred to as a rugby team. Yeah, my brother and I well hell on wheels when we were kids. Probably because I am only a year and half older than him. It was funny putting it that way since none of us actually like rugby.
My mom was a cricket fan and could argue tactics and team selections with the best of them. She loved the shorter forms of the game, T-20 and 50 overs, and tolerated the classic 5-day version.
The longer version took too much time and she often said she had too many other things to do than sit in front of the television the whole day.
She loved her daily soap opera and we knew better than to call her during that time of the day. But, if you had a real problem she never minded if you did. I think my brother learned to cook in those time slots. If Mom hadn't helped, he might have burned down his place a time or six. Yep, a call in soapie time from him often was a real emergency.
She was odd in some ways. I remember that we lived in an area in South Africa where poisonous snakes were abundant. She hated snakes. And yet we often came home from school to find a twitching or dead snake at the back door of the house; she had killed it with a broomstick. If you have never done that, let me help you out - you have to get very close to a snake to kill it with a broomstick, trust me.
She wasn't a fan of camping, but had no objection if we went camping as long as the basics were available, ie. electricity and proper plumbing. I guess I got that one from Mom, because I am exactly the same. In some ways I am like her, and that is not a bad thing either.
On a more personal note, there were two things I really appreciated about my mother. She never felt that she was too old to learn - I taught her to do cross-stitch when she was in her early sixties, and she was very good at it. Sometimes I think she was better at it than I am.
The second thing, which I realised very early in my adult years, was that mother stopped treating me like a child when I left home. To many people, it might sound weird, but in my case it made a huge difference in our relationship. I was raised to think for myself, but living at home often created unnecessary fights because of it. As soon as I left home, our relationship underwent a radical change for which I was grateful and continued to be until her passing last week.
She lost a three-year battle with cancer on 28 January 2016. She was 74 years old.
Mom, you had a good innings and I will always miss you.