Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Number of Things

I love this picture of my mum and me as it has a lot of memories in it. There's a picture of  my handsome sailer dad sitting on top of a desk I remember very well.  Don't ya love my saggy diaper? I didn't care, I was always on the go. The chair my mom is sitting on is one I've written about before - I used to lay on my back  on the seat with my legs up over the back of the chair and my head hanging down near the floor - that was my favourite reading position - don't ask me why!! To our left you can see part of our fireplace mantle, except we didn't have a real fireplace, just an electric one and the mantle was made out of plaster - very "in".  
My mother used to write a weekly column for our village newspaper, The Norwich Gazette, called "A Number of Things" so I thought I'd steal the title for my post as I've been thinking about my mother a lot today.

Before I get going on my stream of consciousness though I want to thank everyone for their very thoughtful and humorous comments on my electricity rant. If you haven't read all the comments you should, many of them are more entertaining than my post!!

Sharon - I would love to accept that challenge but I'm leaving the end of this month for PEI and I'll have no control over my hydro bill here at home. I'm really worried that my daughter will turn on the central air, turn it nice and low, then forget about it for the rest of the summer. You can bet I'll be reminding her everyday in a text to turn it OFF (and to feed the cat!!) But I'd love to take that challenge on when I get back in late August. So let's not forget!

Back to my mother. As I was going through stuff on a bookshelf looking for things for a yard sale on Saturday I came across a letter from my mother. She was a great letter writer as was my father who also, coincidentally, wrote a weekly column called "Down Memory Lane". Is it any wonder that I have a brother and sister who both have blogs plus another brother who keeps a daily journal and writes incredible poetry?  But I digress...(as usual - it's ADD I keep telling you!)

This letter made me both laugh and cry and I'm starting to tear up again as I write.  This is the letter in which she told me, in a backhanded kind of way that she had Parkinsons.  The letter isn't dated but I know she wrote it around l994 when my daughter was four. My mum starts off the letter talking about how much Kazi reminds her of herself at that age - always reading and writing. 

Then she mention how bad her handwriting is getting, very small and slanting up the page and thanks me for taking over the job of balancing her chequebook for her every month as she just can't seem to figure it out any more. Next she says, in her own inimitable style:

"It never rains but it pours - now I have come down with something called Parkinson's disease, but fortunately I will have medication to help me and slow it down. Dad thinks I shouldn't be driving but I think when I get on the medication I'll be able to. I don't want to go through the summer without my little car."

She then goes on to write in a humorous way about the local goings on, her plans for her garden and what is already blooming and how her handwriting looks like she's had "too many drinks!"  

So it would seem as if the little mention of her "coming down" with Parkinsons was just another little tidbit of news, like getting a cold. She never wanted us to worry and kept a lot to herself - she had such incredible strength of spirit and was always there for us to lean on when we needed a strong shoulder. I was really thankful that at last I could do some small services for her, like balance her chequebook.

Unfortunately, the disease progressed quickly and with it came dementia, in only four years time we had to put her into a nursing home and two years after that she died, only nine days after we brought her to a nursing home in London.

I've struggled a lot with the loss of my mother. I felt (still feel) it was so unfair that she got such a disease that addled her wits, destroyed her fine mind and stopped her from writing after having had many many difficult years with my father plus a troubled childhood with her own father killing himself. I guess we just never really get over such a loss, do we? I'm amazed at the overwhelming emotions that came over me as I recognized her handwriting and read her letter.

I think I'm having one of those moments when I wish I could turn back the clock and change some little thing that could alter the course of history so that my parents could still be alive today, or at least give them both happy endings. My dad was a good man, but suffered from depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. He did not "go quietly into the night!"

Sorry for a morose little post, but this was what was on my mind. I think a blog should be a place where you can just let it all out, whatever it is. At least it's that way for me. I don't hide behind a persona or pretend I'm something I'm not. 

And right now, I miss my mum.


Niki said...

Jane, your mother sounds like an amazing woman. She also had an amazing daughter. You write so beautifully and really stir my emotions. I am glad you shared and I hope you feel better after letting it out.

Anonymous said...

what a wonderful post and what a blessing you found that letter, maybe it was just a little nudge from your mom from heaven.

I have posted before how much I miss my father. I don't think its a pain that ever goes away, sometimes its raw and sometimes it just lurkes there.


Johanna said...

Great big hugs

Out My window said...

Your parents made you the remarkable person you are today. I also loved to read and watch TV upside down. Parkinson's is such an awful way to go. I am sorry. I still have my mom but who knows how long? I loved this post, I like you very much.

Anonymous said...

I still miss mine too and I think the few months after the brain cancer diagnosis and watching her lose her ability to communicate and think were the worst I've ever been through but after your mom going through it slowly all those years I think we were blessed it was so fast.


lanniedee said...

Hi Sunshine: I will never, ever get the vision out of my mind of taking mom to the nursing home. Thankfully dad made his wishes clear years ahead to go to Victoria in London. Maybe we didn't get to have mom for a "quantity" of years, but she gave us a lot of "quality", she was always "my hero!" that picture of her I saw Gord. We, her children will keep her memory alive, how can we look at nature's beauty without thinking of her or dad? They are not gone really, they reside within always L.Dee (you are one of my heroes too!)

Sharon said...


I'll hold you to the challenge in August! :)!

It's nice that you still have letters from your mother. I think it would have stirred many emotions in me. My mom and dad are both still alive, although they live 6 hours away. I've been noticing on semi-annual visits that they have increasingly been aging. (Nice way of saying that they are forgetting things, needing many more meds, and the usual growing old syndroms,etc.) I feel blessed to still have them, and really wished they lived closer.

It sounds like you had a great Mum, one that you can remember with fond memories.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post, Jane. I loved that your mom wrote for the newspaper, and how your memories include hanging upside down in that chair.
Wonderful memories, and so sad, too. Thanks for sharing.

Antie Eboo said...

I can sure sympathize. I too had a strong, independent mother who had her life stolen from her by a dreadful disease. I still miss her, and think about her every single day.

~Carla~ said...

((Jane)) Your mother sounds like she was a wonderful woman.. :)

Every time I see a butterfly I think it's my MIL saying hello from above.

jpkittie said...

beautiful post jane - so very sweet to take time out to remember your mom. hugs your way

The Witch said...

What a beautiful post about your Mom. I feel the same way daily about missing my Dad. I'm glad you shared this with us, and the picture is adorable.