Friday, May 25, 2007


happy/sad, bitter/sweet, last/first - that was my birthday.

It was almost exactly a year since the definite diagnosis and prognosis for mum's cancer and now the endless year is over and seems almost like a dream. With many aspects of nightmare. But there is not much for which I'd exchange all the precious time I've spent with them over this year and for the new depths of closeness which grew between us.

Except to have her back.

This was the first birthday without my mother - the last birthday with a card written by/from her. She and dad had organised and written all the birthday cards for May, before she died. Thats what she was like. Her writing is scarcely recognisable for hers - its evident at a glance the time and effort it took to write the words, and she knew it was the last time. How will I ever be able to take it down from the mantlepiece?

My fathers been staying, and we've been having a bittersweet time. Enjoying gardening, sitting in the sun, crying, holding hands. We've been finalising plans for a thanksgiving service for my mum, which will be in a few weeks time. I'm sure it will be good, a celebration of how wonderful she was, and another kind of closure. There are so many goodbyes when someone dies, its not just the once, it seems to go on and on.
But I'm also kind of dreading it, there will be an awful lot of people there, mum was special to so many, and I think it will be quite overwhelming.
But we've been looking through old photos, selecting the best. Bitter and sweet.

So my birthday was sad.
But happy too.
Happy to have so many messages from people who care about me.
Happy to be with family who love me so much.

And little things help.

Even in the face of the huge catastrophic life and death stuff, it cheers me up to see that my tadpoles have little legs. (will post pics soon). And that my roses are blooming beautifully. And that there are sparrows feeding their babies on my bird tree. And that I have morning glory self-seeded again in my patio.

I'm also happy with my new birthday iPod.

and with my iPod socks. (only 6 in the packet tho' - what am I meant to do the other day of the week?)

And I'm overthemoondelighted with my new armadillo.

Designed and handmade specifically and specially for me by the clever and talented little purl one, (who makes gorgeous knitted toys...) - she is named Rose after my lovely wonderful friend who commissioned her for me. Isn't she adorable?

Click here for a larf.


tut-tut said...

Oh, it will get better. Beautiful little knitted Rose. Happy bittersweet birthday to you.

Akelamalu said...

You have your memories, they will last forever. Take time. x

Annelisa said...

As you say, the emotions are mixed... they can't help but be when someone as special as your mum is no longer there to share in your life. But, just know that she is... in a big way... because so much of who you are comes from her. So much of your life is wrapped up with hers. And all those around you, who also have memories of her, will keep a pocket filled with who she was. She's still there, just not where you can visibly see her.

I nearly cried when you said about your mum's card. My friend, who has cancer too, has been trying to work out whether to write letters/ cards to her loved ones for when she's gone. I think she came to the conclusion that maybe one letter for each of her children would be good, and enough.

It will get easier. I lost my father 20 years ago, and my brother 10... they are still dear to me, and I still 'feel' them with me occassionally (thoughts of them dominating for short periods?), but now I can remember without the tears, but with the pleasure of their being part of my life. It will be so one day with you.

I love Rose - she would be absolutely perfect for my youngest son, who adores armadillos (his last birthday, I went to one of those pottery places, and painted him a plate with an armadillo on! :-) )

Take care, and belated Happy Birthday!

Feral Cat Protection Agency said...

Yes, Happy Sad birthdays...It is heartbreaking to lose loved ones and have to go on without them.

Glad your Dillo cheered you a bit.

Reya Mellicker said...

There are so many goodbyes when someone dies, its not just the once, it seems to go on and on.

That's been my experience, too. It's such a gift to all of us to read your thoughts during these first few weeks after your mother's passing. Thank you so much. These posts are so vivid, full of truth. I just want to keep saying thank you.

Thinking of you with much love.

Rosebud said...

Oh, that was such a sad post about the card. That is just heartbreaking. I really hope that the little dillo helped to keep the heart strong. Thinking of you, dear friendxxx

Shelly Lowenkopf said...

How good to have a visit from you. Seeing some of your comments to pod, I was drawn to visit you on occasion, and found myself delighted by your range of interests and your appetite for them.

I think now a cyber bond has clicked into place for me and I will consult you on matters of inspiration.

Gary said...

I read your post this morning and have been thinking of you all day. I am sorry for your loss and amazed that your mom planned to have a card made out for you this birthday. She sounds like she was a treasure and I hope that her memory can sustain you in the difficult times. All the best to have given me much to think about.

ramblingwoman said...

The Dillo is abso-bloody-marvellous Lettuce! I can see why you were so pleased to receive that. Rose is such a lovely, thoughtful person.

All your other commenters have given such lovely thoughtful insights....yes, bittersweet is the word isn't it...happy but overwhelmingly sad too.
Thinking of you Lettie and looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday.


Ex-Shammickite said...

There are many times that I hear some news about someone, or enjoy a good book, or just see a beautiful garden or hear the birds sing, and I want so much to tell my mum or dad about it. And they've both been gone more than 20 years. So the goodbye that you are talking about does go on for a long long time. But so do life and beauty and happy memories.
And on a less serious note.... I absolutely adore that video!

lettuce said...

isn't she, Tut-Tut? and thanks. I know it will.

yes, i'm not in a hurry AK

thanks for what you said Annelisa, really comforting healing words.
We have a bit of an armadillo collection, actually.... i used to blog a dillo of the day at one stage last year ...

fcpa - new visitors cheer me up too! happy to meet you :o)

lettuce said...

Reya, its a gift to me being able to write and hear your lovely responses.

dear rose. ... just that - dear Rose. xxx

me too Shelly (or should it be you too?) anyway, what i mean is... click click.

gary i know your face from other comments boxes. i'm touched that you've been thinking of me, thankyou. Yes, she was a treasure.

isn't it, RW? isn't she? and yes, I am too, can't wait. xx

i'm glad to hear that it will go on and on, ex-sh, it would be hard to think it was over. Yes, i larfed a lot - less serious notes are vital.

Donna said...

How lovely of your mum to leave you a card. What a treasured item that will be. I'm sure it will get easier Letty. There's a lot of love for you which will help. x

Gary said...

Blogging is certainly an interesting, very modern way of coming together. Thanks for sharing your journey. I will keep checking back.

Steve said...


All I can really do is thank you for sharing this with us. I hope the sharing does you some good - I think it must - and I feel like I learn from it. I'm so sorry you have to go through this tough time. But happy Bday anyway.

(And as you already know from Flickr, I LOVE Rose!)

la bellina mammina said...

Happy birthday Lettuce - sorry you felt sad, but I guess life goes on, doesn't it. Love the knitted armadillo - really cute!

Shelly Lowenkopf said...

It's been a while now--ten years, in fact--that both of them are gone, but somewhere in my desk is a card from the two of them, and the discovery of it, while I search for something else, is like having a birthday again, only this time, they are still here.

It is good that you have the card--and the lovely memories.

Pod said...

oh little rose! you are very lucky that the simple things are carrying you. it is almost unbearably wonderful that little tadpole legs have given you some balance. i am sure that the few tears that fell into their pool helped them to grow, or perhaps helped them to understand your pain, and hence to wiggle more and make you smile. i shall meet you by the pond for a moment, and we can hold hands and point at their little legs and smile

Mike M said...

I am so sorry I didn't read this post on Friday. It's touching and it goes to show you have a wonderful heart.

Happy birthday Lettuce


Sherry Snowdrop said...

That's very very moving.

I am glad that the little armadillo stands as a little smile amongst the tears.

Anonymous said...

Your writings about your Mum are so touching and heart-breaking and I am so so touched that amongst all that you bother to put up a pick of my little knitted creation. I'm so pleased its given just a teeny bit of happiness in such a big nastiness.

Sending you lots of scaly curly in a bally sweetness and hugs telepathically - I hope you are receiving them.

Love Littlepurlone