Today is my mother, Illona Murray’s 57th birthday. I’m not sure exactly what to say to my mother when I wish her today. She is living in Uitenhage and I live in Johannesburg. During February I spent 3 weeks visiting her and it was essentially my December holiday. Like all mothers and son’s we have have good times and bad times, we’re close and we’re far apart.

When I was growing up she was a strong role model, a single mother who worked for First National Bank for 33 years. Every day we spent a little bit of time together after she came home work. And there were times when I felt that she was not as caring as I would have liked her to be because I recall making my own lunch, walking myself to school, making my own bed. However, all these things helped me to become self reliant. And the lessons in independence were valuable later on when I lived in moved to Johannesburg in 1997, and moved to Cape Town in 1999, and eventually to United Arab Emirates in 2000.

The most important thing in her life post-1988 is God. She is a reborn Christian and currently with the Salvation Army. I always tell the story of how she wanted to be a nurse, but her father did not allow her to study in that direction. She settled for a job with the municipality and eventually found work with a bank. However, it clear since her early retirement in 2008 that she has found something that makes her happy on a daily basis. And I received more support from her in the last few years that could be expected. So in this blog post I want to acknowledge her contribution to my life. I honour and praise her resilience and her faith in me. She has never denied me when I asked her for help. And no matter how bad things were growing up, and now as an adult, her love is the foundation on which I built my own life.

So happy birthday Mom. You deserve all the richest blessings from God, and know you are instrumental in the direction of my daily life. The best memories I have is from the times you took me to work on weekends and how we used to enjoy Wimpy burgers on the train home from Port Elizabeth to Uitenhage. All those hours spent running around the bank when I was 4 or 5 comes back to me in a flash every now and then. And the happiness I experienced just being close to you is all that matters.