Both my mother and brother died on Dec. 13th, three decades apart. He had not reconciled with our mother and I have had a hunch that it was his way of honoring her at last. I dunno, I’m just built that way: life (and death) have meanings. This year it is Corrie, my Dutch friend who married an old boyfriend of mine. I’d passed him on to Annie who was so mean to him – but then we were Just Seventeen then and stupid. It freed him up to eventually take a holiday to Amsterdam, where certain vegetation could be purchased with no hassles. I’m not saying he found Corrie there, doing that.. but they both were known for dam heavy smoking and whiskey neat.
It was a godsend that Patrick was in Holland when my world collapsed in Sudan. The kids and spent the better part of three months in Den Haag, waiting to see what the political outcome would be in Khartoum. Pat is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and he had a beautiful life with an incredibly intelligent, funny and loving woman. They were married over 30 years.
Corrie passed on New Years Day after nearly a decade of fighting brain and lung cancers. During those years she was in and out of hospital, and when she was strong she and Patrick took off to various parts of the world to continue their lifelong devotion to improving the world. They worked on fresh water and farming in Africa, built schools in the Greek Islands andSouth America. Where there is need the Dutch always roll up their sleeves and literally “dig in”. They came to me a year ago last summer, and we held a wonderful party for them in our back yard when it still looked beautiful. Food and drink and old folks: we reminisced about our teenage years when we were young, silly and excited about everything – even an event in San Francisco I’d blocked out: a “Horse Potato” fight in Golden Gate Park. Disgusting but fun.
Most of us have relatives and friends who seem to choose the Annual Party Time: starting with Halloween, through Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year. I am of the opinion that they choose their departure deliberately, they have some say in the event and it is not to bring sorrow to the celebrations, it’s their way of participating annually ~ perhaps even looking in on us??? Anyway, that’s my own take. I promise to make a post to my blog if I find out if I’m right after I make my own transition. That should be Thanksgiving. I will no doubt be hovering near your stove because I love to be warm!
In our wonderful online world, I found a distant relative living in the North of England and began a correspondence with her regarding a mysterious island in the freezing depths of the North Sea just off Scotland. We did some research then she finally cracked her own “mystery” of the ancient isle of Ates. During the course of searching I decided I really MUST visit the coastal islands of the UK, soon. It’s the Isle of Man that has my attention as I once met a fellow who said he was Manx, so I asked if he was from the Isle of Man and he said yes, the residents call themselves Manx, and in answer to my unspoken query he added “Like the Cat. The breed is native there.”
I can only wonder how and why a tail-less breed of cat mutated only on this one small island. It’s my understanding that cats were first civilized in Egypt. Now how does this work? In this paragraph one can see how my mind works and I probably should feel shame but I don’t.
I hope all have enjoyed your tour through my brain above. Off we go to my letter from Hilda, and how the family celebrated the death of her husband Frank during the Holidays. (While you read, I think I’ll post and move on to find out what the Barnardos Homes are. Perhaps foster care or orphanage…)
Happy New Year Melanie,
I had a LOVELY Xmas, despite everything. My grandson James sat in Franks usual place at the dinner table, and said all the things ‘Grumpy’ usually said on such occasions. It was fun. His funeral service was beautiful. He asked for “the cheapest funeral we could get “, and absolutely no religion”. He lost what faith he had when the cancer got him. We granted him his wish. We had a ‘Humanist’ service. Some of his favorite songs, and a female officiate called Val. She stood and told his life story. (he was brought up in foster care, starting with Barnardos Homes. About 12 of his old work mates turned up. I was delighted. I had only ever met one of them, and it was him who got the rest there. He remained a loyal friend to Frank, and visited regular when he was ill. We are so very grateful to him.
We played Ketty Lester’s ‘Love Letters’ to go into the chapel, ( we started out as pen-pals while he was in the army) Kenny Rogers / Dolly Partons ‘Islands in the Stream’ , for the quiet thoughtful, quiet period half way through, and the very irreligious ‘Another one bites the the Dust’ by Queen, when we were leaving the chapel. (He was cremated) That was his specific request. He would have been laughing.
I have had a bit of a struggle with the arthritis lately. the weather hear is weird at the moment. We have VERY strong winds at moment. I hate them. Makes me tense and head-achy. Anyway, will finish now. Watching ‘Ben Hur’ for the umpteenth time, as tele has been pathetic over the holidays. Very few adult programmes, all repeats, and nearly all childrens programmes, even in the evenings. They get there licence fee for nothing these days. Bye for now melanie. get well soon.
Your friend Hilda.