What else can we do but remember the bright spots?

 Mrs S Lawrenson - Teacher

Suzanne Meriel Lawrenson


What else can we do but remember the bright spots? We all have our cherished memories of our parents, those moments when we connected, when we looked at each other and the understanding between us was unique to the familial tie. For Suzanne’s children, Alice, Olivia and Edward, here is a poem by Seamus Heaney, the single most important writer in my life, where he remembers that very moment he felt closest to his mum, when they peeled potatoes together for Sunday lunch.


from Clearances

In Memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives—
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.


And we can, each one of us, remember our own bright spots we shared with Suzanne, one of our loveliest.


About johntomsett

Headteacher in York. All views are my own.
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4 Responses to What else can we do but remember the bright spots?

  1. Marian says:

    I often read and reflect on this poem and it reminds me of days spent at the sink with my mammy nearly 50 years ago – we’d sort the dinner when all the younger ones were at mass. It was the verse on mummy’s memorial card also.

  2. Kim says:

    How lovely and perfect.

  3. Karen Johns says:

    I knew this lady years ago. Oh my!

    • Paul Gair says:

      I was a good friend of Suzanne and Neil when they lived in Brighton. In fact Neil and I worked together for some years at Sika, so I saw Suzanne often as well. I am now living in Canada so lost touch. I read of Neil’s death recently and only today read of Suzanne having passed. They were great folk and their kids will have cherished memories full of laughter, I’m sure.just 2

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