Spring is a Good Time to Go

I had planned on a Sunday post filled with flowers…. Here we are Monday.  Spring means life even if it also brings death. And in this case, my mother-in-law, Jean, aged 85 and almost two months, passed away just before midnight on Saturday – another COVID casualty.  I guess it was fitting for her to die on a Saturday; she did like to go to Church on Saturdays.  She went four-five times per week but loved the Saturday service best. Makes one wonder just why she needed it so much. I have my theories but I shall keep them to myself.

Mother’s Day 2015, first one without Mick

We had a strange relationship, Jean and I. She was not an easy woman to deal with. In one breath I was the best wife, mother, cook; and in the next, I was the bitch who had her locked up.  If she only knew it was me who pushed her son to go get her, to return her calls, to keep her updated on us.  Or that I did what I could to have her be able to stay in her apartment, even if just for a while.  Neither here nor there, now, is it?

She was not a loving mother to her only son during his childhood, though I think deep down she did love him, in her way – it was just a really tough kind of love.  Neither one of them forgave the other completely for past pains.  And they both had plenty.

She did love her grandchildren, even if she could never get them straight.  Austin was the easy one to remember because he died.  And she focused on death.  All. The. Time.  Conversations were always of the genre:  “Clara (or insert any name) died. Cancer/heart attack/insert malady.”  “Who’s Clara? (again, insert name never heard till now)”  “A friend.”  “So sorry to hear that.”

We only saw her once or twice per year; three, on special occasions.  Mother’s Day and Christmas Brunch, Mick would drive the 45 minutes to pick her up, bring her to our place or the restaurant, and, after the event, do the same trek.  We’d offer to take her out once and again and she always refused, preferring to come to our place.  Despite my being the “best cook and baker”, she didn’t enjoy food.

Her relationship with Mick was very complicated.  Mick had shared with me his version of his history and I tried to get her talk about hers. She didn’t divulge very much but got very defensive.  I came to the conclusion that both were pigheaded in their refusal to accept their part!  Still, when we take the time to see, she did the best she could with what she had and she was alone to do it.  And, when push came to shove, Mick was there for her (and then I was) and she was there for him (and for me after he died).  Even if it was by duty.

Mother’s Day brunch 2010

She was pretty pleased to be the mother of the groom.  This was definitely one of her happy and proud days.  Mick insisted on treating her to a shopping spree, make-up and hairstyling as she was not one to splurge on herself. At all. So it took some doing and a threat or two on his part for her to acquiesce.

September 14, 2002

It is hard to say how I feel as I wasn’t truly in a position to create a close relationship with Jean.  Her son kept her at arm’s length and I had to respect him.  He had his reasons, after all.  After Mick died, I kept up the annual pilgrimage to pick her up and bring her over for Mother’s Day until her fall in July 2017.  At that time, it was discovered she was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and would not be abe to return to her home.  I spent a lot of time going back and forth doing what I know Mick would have done no matter how much he bitched about it. Because deep down, we do care.

Mother’s Day 2014 – last one with Mick

So my visits with Jean, with or without the boys, were every few months.  With each visit, it took longer for her to remember who I was and always asked why Mick wasn’t with me. To which I would reply because he was “working” – what would be the point of making her cry about her son’s death when in five minutes she would ask me again how he was and why wasn’t he there? And, of course, she never, ever, stopped asking to go home. The staff at Lev Tov said she asked every single day.  Drove them nuts with it.  She was a proud woman who had always taken care of herself and loathed her lack of independence.  She was not a happy woman but those in her circle loved her and thought her such a nice lady.

After a hair-styling at the residence

I hope she has finally found peace, wherever she is.

In My Life – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #48

It’s officially Friday as the midnight bell has rung. Took me a while to get this right. I love Crispina‘s challenge and had planned on writing something else once I got home from work. But just before I started my car, I was going to write some nonsense on Facebook when I saw a post from my friend, Linsey. I had to change my plans.

In My Life

The sky was showing off with gusto

Pinks and purples, peaches and blues all swirling about

Leaving me wondering who she was trying to impress

Still dazzled, I read the sad news

And was brought up short

My friend’s husband had passed

His soul has crossed over the bridge as they say

His time of suffering is blessedly over

Leaving behind his loved ones as relieved as they are sad

I never met the man but it matters not

He made my TFAY* happy and that is all I need to know

 

It was you, Tim, painting the sky so brilliantly

All the while

Making that bridge glow a golden yellow, reflecting your light

 

You may be gone but as John said “In My Life”:

I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I’ll love you more

As those who loved you will do for you

Rest in peace, Tim

Tim and Linsey

*TFAY – Twin From Another Year

 

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #15 – To Come Full Circle

I have been drawn in, once again, to Crispina’s CCC challenge.  First of all, because the sunflower is my favourite flower – even when she is spent and ready to be put to rest.  I didn’t want to focus on her death but could not avoid it.  And then, what the hell was I thinking?  I decided to try my hand at a double etheree (didn’t even know what that was before Willow introduced me to one a good while back).  And then, yesterday, Merril went and posted a beautiful one and somehow here I am trying my hand at writing crazy stuff that I know nothing about.  Call me crazy.

To Come Full Circle

Dead

Finished

Time is up

Served my purpose

Seeds and glory, gone

Sadly, I hang my head

I was beautiful, before

But now, I fear, am fading fast

The birds come no more, I am spent

My green once so bright has dulled to yellow

 

But wait!  I have lost sight of my purpose

I have fed nature’s smallest creatures

I have given, with all my love

Facing the sun, I spread joy

I replenish my stock

Letting some seeds fall

To plant themselves

Born again

To give

Life

 

(Word count:  89)

Better on the Other Side – Friday Fictioneers

Good Thursday, my readers.  I’ve been struggling with this week’s Friday Fictioneers, trying to come up with something half-way decent.  I admit I’ve been a tad preoccupied this week with the death on Friday of my beloved aunt, Lucette.  Saturday is her funeral.

I have been asked, once again, to give the eulogy.  My cousin feels he’s too close – it is his mother – and says he won’t be able to do it.  I, of course accepted, having already made the decision to say a few words to honour her anyway.

It’s funny, I keep getting asked to do this “job”, having now done it for my grandmother, father, and husband.  I dunno, maybe it’s a calling!  One thing is for sure, there will not only be tears, there will definitely be smiles.  I can’t help it.  I will always try to find the sunshine in the dark; or, as Maya Angelou like to say, I try to be a rainbow to someone else’s cloud.

Thank you, always, to Rochelle for hosting our group.  And this week, thank you to Danny Boweman for the use of your picture (bet you didn’t know Rochelle would choose you this week, eh?)

To play with us, click on the blue frog to add your link.  Not sure how this shindig works?  Click on Rochelle’s name for the how-tos…

Get da code

©Danny Boweman

Better on the Other Side

She’ll be comin’ ’round the mountain when she comes!

She’ll be comin’ ’round the mountain when she comes!

Ever since she opened Rochelle’s email with this week’s pic, the bloody song had become an earworm.

For reasons she couldn’t fathom, the stupid song made her think of her beloved aunt, Lucette

“You’re on the other side now, Matante*.  I do hope it is pain-free and filled with beauty, as they say it is.”

Smiling through her tears, she pictured her aunt:  healthy, rounding the bend, drink in hand, singing the song.  Letting us all know she much better now.

 

*Here in Quebec (well in my family at least) we call our uncles “Mononcle” and our aunts “Matante”, which means my aunt.  We don’t just use the tante.  It has become a form of endearment to the point that we will say something like:  My Matante Lucette…  literally meaning  “My my aunt Lucette”!

Our Friendship

20140524_213735

I dropped you off after a delicious evening
There was good food and wine,
But the deliciousness came from our talk
Fun talk, serious talk, honest talk.
Driving home, listening to “Tonic” on CBC Radio 2
A jazzy version of “West Side Story” is playing.

I’m crying.

No, not the gulping, tear-flowing, hiccupping kind –
The throat so tight and the eyes burning kind.
It’s the “fight scene” part of the music
So representing what’s going inside of me.
My emotions are all over the map, fighting with each other
Yet I’m not sad, nor hurt and far from mad
I’m all of those and also glad.

You, my friend, had put a mirror in my face
And told me to take a good look
No, no, not in so many words
You pushed and you shoved and you pushed again
Not out of hate, out of love
Giving me shit for not committing to something
Telling me I’m brilliant and can do whatever I set my mind to
I look at you in disbelief and reply “oh please! in what way?”
You give me shit again! And again tell me I can (do anything)
I laugh and nod to placate you but also
Because deep-down I know you’re right

The song has changed to the velvet-voiced, Mel Tormé
Singing “Who Can Ask For Anything More?”

My mood has turned reflective
Who would have thought a friendship would bloom
In a woman’s-only gym, sweating to crappy dance music
A bunch of loud-mouthed Anglo broads taking up the corner
Of the mostly-French-frequented establishment
Convincing me to join you in that crazy Spinning class
Picking up our toddlers from the gym’s daycare
We’re not in the same tax bracket and it doesn’t matter
There are no feelings of “better than” or “not good enough”
It’s comfortable

Next thing I know, you are secretly invited to my 38th birthday
Where they put a “39” candle on my cake!
You fit right it and are nicknamed “Mouth” by my mother
It’s a sign that you are just like us

This is the real start to our regularly getting together
Outside of the gym for movies or lunch or dinner
We become a trio with Brenda, who is sadly no longer with us
We get together with husbands and kids

That said, we are happiest being just the two of us

Life happens: hearts broken, divorce, new loves,
Last-minute wedding invitations, death
We have times where we don’t see each other for months
But it matters not
We just pick up where we left off as if not a day has gone by

Though at times frustrated by your lack of ability to
Just pick up the damn phone and call
I’ve given in and accepted you for who you are as you have for me
I do know that if you do need someone for anything
I will be the first one you’ll call and I’ll be there for you
And when my turn comes
You will be there with a roast, a coffee cake, an Ativan

I don’t want to make the mistake I did with Brenda and Roxanne
They are no longer with us, it’s too late
So allow me to take this moment to tell you
While you are alive and kicking
Though, like me, you don’t come from an “I love you”
Kind of family, I’ll tell you anyway
I love you, my friend Patricia!

This will be us in many years!

old friends

And remember

bra