It's Mothering Sunday here in the UK tomorrow. I've been thinking not only about my mother, and both my lovely step-mother and mother-in-law, but also of the children who will not have their mother with them tomorrow. My heart goes out to Natasha Richardson's boys who must be devastated by the loss of their mother. My brother was about the same age when our mother died; my sister and I were 17 and 21 respectively. The trauma of such a loss and its effects on a family cannot be described. Prince William said in an interview the other day how much he dreads Mother's Day, and I know just what he means - I still miss my mother terribly, and not a day goes by when I don't think about her. She was such an inspiration, and a wonderful mum who could turn her hand to anything. I have treasured memories of us painting together - she encouraged me with my drawing and story telling. She was a wonder with a needle - I remember describing a dress I liked once, and she made it in an afternoon from remnants of material that she kept for just such a purpose. My mum was always making or drawing and painting; I have many paintings that she did. We studied A level Art together and were in the same class at college which was fun. Whenever I think of my mother, it is in a sunny garden. She loved being outside and pottering in the garden with the flowers. Roses were her favourite, but everything she grew blossomed under her care, a skill she did not hand down to me, unfortunately. Whenever I sit in my garden with a cup of tea I can see her in my mind's eye, her best china laid out on a snowy cloth on the garden table, slicing a fruit cake or victoria sponge and handing round cups of tea with conversation and laughter.
Of course now I am a mother myself, the day has its joys - I have a wonderful collection of home-made cards and to spend time with my children is very special. I will miss my eldest son tomorrow. For the first time he is away on Mother's Day because he is on tour and will be on his way to Glasgow. But I am very lucky, I know I shall see him soon.
To everyone who cannot have their mother with them tomorrow I'm sure we'd all like to say, we are thinking of you and sending thoughts of love.