Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Last weekend I was at my father's for a while. It was my mum's birthday on 26th. On Sept. 1st it would have been their 56th Wedding anniversary. Well - it still is, will be. We did some gardening and I found this beautiful little jay feather.

I've read a few books by Hilary Mantel, all excellent, different, beautifully written, moving. This was in a July paper, but I only read it on the train last weekend:

The work of mourning is real work, like shovelling corpses, like sifting ashes for diamonds. When someone dies, we exist for years on a thin line, a wire, stretched tight between remembering and forgetting. When something touches that wire and makes it vibrate, that's a ghost. It's a disturbance in our consciousness, in that deep place where we carry the dead, like the unborn, sealed up inside us.
Hilary Mantel

Jays always make me think of mum - she used to keep some jay feathers in her jewellery box, I loved looking at them when i was small - mum and dad found them on their honeymoon in Scotland, all those 56 years ago.

We sat for a while by mum's grave on Sunday, put in a plant and left some flowers and the jay feather.

This is one of the most persistent memories and images from our holiday, my dad:


ramblingwoman said...

He was probably wondering when anyone was going to come and put a glass of rose down on the empty table he'd strategically placed next to him!

Oh and probably thinking, 'ah bit of peace and quiet away from that noisy Lettie's taking a photo of me right now....shall I turn round....nah...I'm too comfy'



That jay feather must have seemed like a bit of a ghost - a message/a hello.

(I'm thinking of you Lettie, and your dad, xxxxx)

Akelamalu said...

Ah Lettie I feel for you honey, I will be remembering a special birthday tomorrow, so I know how it feels.
I love the Hilary Mantel quote, thankyou for sharing it. x

tut-tut said...

Ah, wait until you catch a faint drift of an aroma (which will happen) that absolutely shouldn't be there, but you know who it's associated with.

Poignant photos. HIlary Mantel is one of my favorite authors.

Queenie said...

Lettie, that was so interesting, isn't it strange how this funny old world/universe works? Would you pop over to my blog and pick up a little award I would like to give you for keeping in touch and being so nice.

Ex-Shammickite said...

Happy memories, and sad ones too. We all have them.
Give your dad lots of hugs. Dads seem to have a really hard time when mum has gone.

Reya Mellicker said...

What a beautiful post, Lettuce! Powerful words and powerful images. What is remembered, lives.

Much love and gratitude to you. Thank you for this! Thank you!!

Mike M said...

I'm sure that feather was put there just for you!

Dumdad said...

Great quote, wonderful photo.

Lynne said...

Ah, Letty. Love the first photo; beautiful!

Your Dad looks sad and lonely. I'm glad you got to be with him on your Mum's birthday. He's going to be lost. My Mom lost my Dad 8 years ago and she was so lonely without him. His birthday and their Wedding Anniversary were the hardest days for her. Hope you have plans with your Dad for Saturday.

I am only beginning the grieving process for her and find that it changes daily. I think I am somewhat in avoidance mode right now because I only want to talk with people that know and not the people I haven't spoken to yet about it.

The reminders are everywhere, aren't they?
XXX to you Letty

natural attrill said...

sending love to your Dad.

Pod said...

just aah
(plus hand holding)


Gary said...

I want to be witty and comforting but you have gotten me lost in so many thoughts that I can't seem to figure anything out. I guess I just want you to know that I am thinking of you and your dad and sending good thoughts your way.

Shelly Lowenkopf said...

Since you mentioned Hillary Mantel, I thought you might enjoy her novel Beyond Black.

While the feather was quite nice, especially against the loops and whorls of your hand, I was drawn as well to the lovely incisions on your ring.

It is inspiring to have you share things with us.

la bellina mammina said...

Am thinking of you L. That is really a speacial photo.

kimy said...

what a moving and powerful post. the picture of your dad is quite phenomenal. (and I agree w/ shelly regarding the feather picture) appreciate the quote and discovery of an author until now unknown to me. thank you. namaste

call me betty said...

Little sadnesses. Brief moments of pain and poignancy. They intrude when we least expect them, when we think the wounds are healing and then the scar stretches and reddens and the tears come.

I have a fantastic new job. My Mum would be so proud and I want to tell her. I can't. It sucks.

Hugs to you, Letty xxxx

John Eaton said...

How lovely, L.

I saw your hand, and the feather, and thought of the map of the lines and how the feather rides like a little boat on that water.


lettuce said...

hahaha - it had occurred to me, luce, that the one thing wrong with that pic. was the emptiness of the table. You're quite right of course. Was lovely to see you yesterday. xxx

thanks lamalu - thinking of you too.

TT - scent is possibly the most powerful reminder sometimes, isn't it? maybe because we don't think consciously of it so much?

thanks so much queenie.

they do shammie. Yes, lots of hugs.

Reya - xx

mike - it felt like that.

dumdad - isn't it a wonderful quote?

lynne - it changes constantly, doesn't it? take care of yourself.x

thanks P. And to you.

Pod - always. x

thanks gary. It is comforting.

Shelly, i loved Beyond Black - funny and disturbing and unexpectedly redemptive too. Have you read others by her?

thanks Bella. Hope you are ok.

Kimy yes, do search out and read her i think she's one of the best currently.

oh betty. yes it does. see you soon for hugs in person. xx
(and Congrats! you deserve it!!)

hello john. Thats a lovely thought and image, thankyou.

Steve said...

That's a great photo. Your memories mean a lot, and the fact that you could spend this time with your family. :)

Joy said...

lovely post, sad and beautiful all at the same time.