A is Antonia, my beloved mum. Her father just knew she was going to be a boy, so he chose the name Anthony, and bought his unborn child a cricket bat. When she was born, he sat on the stairs clutching the bat and weeping with disappointment.
My mum had a very difficult life. An unsettled childhood, awful time at boarding school, an unsatisfactory marriage, a handicapped child, never any money, and then in her forties she was crippled with terrible arthritis. I have rarely seen anyone in so much pain. In the end, her neck collapsed, and she could only move one arm.
But she was brave and funny and ecentric, and when she was dying (so early; she was only 67), people were queueing up to see her, not to listen but to talk. My mum was an amazing listener. At the end of her life she was composing an opera by means of singing bits of it into a tape recorder by her bed. My sister still has what she wrote, but none of us can bear to listen to it.
Of course I remember so many things about her, but one particularly poignant moment, especially at this time of year: my litte mum, fresh out of hospital (again) standing in a bluebell wood in her dressing gown (we had brought her in the car), looking at the dying flowers.
"Oh!" It was a cry from the heart. "I've missed another spring!"
If only we could have brought those bluebells back to life, just for one day.