Today is the 20th Anniversary of my mothers passing over the rainbow bridge and felt drawn to honour her memory by sharing her story.
Born Annika Gregoriou in 1944 in Cyprus, she grew up in a farming family, with 7 Siblings. All hands were needed, so schooling was a luxury and she only went to school for one year before having to pull her weight at home at the age of 7.
Age 15 her father arranged a marriage for her as part of a buisness deal, they got engaged then on finding out that he was already married, she had her excuse to escape before they married her off. Her younger brother had come to the UK a few months before and arranged for her to join him.
15 yr old when she left Cyprus.
She worked alongside her brother in a friends Cafe and she cleaned at the B+B where they stayed, to earn money to survive and send back to her parents. That is where she met my father, a Trucker, who was staying at the B+B. They married in 1964.
They were married for 13years, mum loved children and wanted a big family. Sadly she had 8 Miscarriages and ended up with just me. She would never talk about how she nearly lost me age 2 when I drown, I guess the memory was too hard to bare.
We had a wonderful family holiday in Cyprus just before the war in 1974.
They split when I was 8yrs old and we moved into a friends place to house sit while she visited her daughter in Australia for a year. I befriended our neighbour Gladys and she took us in like family and we looked after her till the end of her days when I was 13.
Me and mum when I was 7 and 9.
Mum got Alapechia and Anorexia when we left my dad, she was ill for a couple of years but never stopped caring for me and everyone else, through her challenging times.
Her greatest Joy was when my daughter was born, she loved her like her own child.
She had a sense of humour that got her through the dark times. She always thought of others before herself, I guess it was drilled in from childhood. Her brothers didnt speak (still not) for many years and her biggest wish was that they resolved their differences.
Even though she was brought up being forced to kill animals, she had a love for them, an empathy, an innate need to nurture. The pics below were taken in my room where I grew up at my grandparents, with the bunny she rescued from her dad and with her Mum.
My mum raised money for heart units at Pinderields hospital, ironically it is where she was died (killed) You can see a a clip from the newspaper framed above her in this pic, from one of the times that she was in there for fundraising for the hospital.
When she came to visit us in Cyprus in 1995 the year before she died, she made us curtains for the flat, she loved to sew and used to make Weding dresses when I was a child. Growing up I used to promise that one day I would get her her own Sewing shop in Cyprus. That never happened, the year she was moving back to Cyprus is when she died. Now looking back at the pictures, it is plain to see that she was unwell.
Mum was a special lady, who endured a lot in her short life but held on to the love in her heart with a smile on her face and never lost sight of hope. She had an equally veracious temper, I bare the scars to prove it. She demanded respect and she got it, she deserved it, that heart on her sleeve meant too many people took advantage and that harsh exterior led people to belive she was tougher than nails, including me in my younger years.
Dead at 51 due to malpractice, her life was just about to start and it was taken from her, from us all, without a second thought or apology. My biggest heartbreak is that my daughter missed out on her influence, her Love.
She taught me to be who I am and writing this I see the similarities, good and bad.
Life is not gauranteed, tell those you care about that you love them, take that trip, pack in your job and find your vocation, dont wait until tomorrow , till the time is right to do what your heart wants, it may not be given.
There is not a day goes by that I do not miss her, pain heals all wounds they say and it does, the memories, lessons and love however, will always remain. 🙂 ❤
R.I.P. Mum 21.10.44 – 19.4.96