The obvious self-interested gratitude of a son to the one who gave him life - but gratitude also that in my mother I was given a remarkable gift.
In a culture that has grown used to benchmarks as standards of quality, she benchmarked several human qualities that I now value and try with varying degrees of success or frustration to live towards.
Generosity that could be reckless but never calculating.
A capacity for work that lived up to one of her own greatest compliments -'not a lazy bone in her body'!
Laughter that revealed a sense of humour always sharp, but never cutting.
Courage to bear and forbear an illness that often undermined her deepest sense of self.
Compassion for others that was neither ashamed of tears nor afraid of the cost of helping.
A love for animals that was Schweitzer-like in its reverence for life.
An instinct for the circumstances of others that made her alert to those small, random acts of kindness we all like to have happen to us.
My mother also had her faults - I recognise some of them in me. But today I simply celebrate a life to which I owe my own, and incalculably more besides.
Requiescat in pace.