Thursday, May 08, 2008

family and family

Wednesday was the anniversary of my mum's death, a year ago.

I had thought that I wouldn't blog about it at all. I spent the day quietly doing this and that, thinking and feeling. Also not thinking or feeling.

It wasn't so much worse than some of the other days have been.
There are all sorts of unsuspected triggers.
Grief doesn't conform to rules or expectations.

I decided to mention it, after all, since emailing a couple of bloggers who had written messages of love, knowing the anniversary - and especially in the light of my USA visit.
These are all connected.

My mother was a great letter writer. She sent long letters, little notes, cards, photos, gifts. It was a way of extending her love, care and hospitality far beyond her home. There were a lot of people around the world who loved her, many of them loved her like a mother. She was also trying to get the hang of texting, to keep in touch with her grandchildren.

She was becoming a keen emailer, before it became too uncomfortable to sit at the computer, though I don't think she'd ever have wanted to give up paper and pen.

Well into her illness, her priority for the mornings was to write - she responded to every card, letter, delivery of flowers as long as she was able to.

Given a few more years, she might have become a blogger. She had the instincts, but might have had too little time; she was always busy, active, involved, visiting, looking after guests. Writing.

I showed her my blog, after we knew about her cancer, as another way of sharing with her and she loved it - the chat and the commenting, the connections. She recognised the sense of community, the friendship. Family.

My trip to the USA was financed by money she gave me, before she died. The same was true for Betty, who was with me in NYC, whose mother died just a couple of weeks after mine.
So, it was a kind of Mother-Memorial trip for each of us.

And she would have just loved to hear about my trip and about those of you I was able to meet face to face; about the welcome, hospitality and love I was given, about the sense of comfortable familiarity and acceptance I felt.
It really hurts that I can't share that with her, it bloody hurts so much.
But there is also a huge comfort in recognising the operations and realities of "family" and friendship so far from home and in knowing that she would have recognised it too. It was fitting.

I'm glad to have written this, after all, and to acknowledge the anniversary here where I received such a lot of support and comfort at the time.

Also, writing this has rather effectively cleared my sinuses.

Travel diaries of some kind should emerge before too long.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, nothing can ever replace a mother but time does help (I am speaking from experience, it is 10 years this year). Your mother seems to have been a wonderful person. Take care.

Akelamalu said...

The time goes so quickly but the hurt doesn't! It's good that you have written aboutyour Mum, I'm sure she would have approved. There will come a time when it won't hurt and you will only remember all the good times my dear Lettie. xx

Sally said...

Big hugs Lettuce.

Lynne said...

xxxx, letty.

I'm glad you decided to blog about it.

What a lovely post. I seem to be having trouble with words here ...

tut-tut said...

My mother was a great writer of letters as well. I hadn't realized how she affected others until her memorial service, when several people felt moved to share how her letters had been important to them.

It's ironic, isn't it, when you want so much to tell her something you know she'd laugh at (and no one else would, but the two of you) but you can't . . . I just send the thought up into the ether, and hope she's caught it.

Donna said...

How you must miss her. She sounds like such a lovely person. Her love of writing has obviously been passed to you. I always enjoy receiving your letters and emails x

Barbara said...

Many of us come from a generation of letter-writers, people who prided themselves on their penmanship, who used real pens and lovely notepaper. I'm sad not only for the loss of my maternal letter-writer, but for the custom of putting our thoughts on something the recipient can touch. As immediate as electronic messaging is, there is something nice about a tangible reminder that might even bear the person's scent. It's a lost art.

I'm sure your mum would have been pleased at how you used your inheritance. I'm sure she was with you in spirit on your big trip.

Barbara said...

P.S. Thank you for your lovely paper note. You are obviously carrying on your mum's tradition!

wordwitch said...

I too, send big hugs to Lettuce. I hope you find healing, and that the memories stay strong and fresh for you always.

Squirrel said...

these anniversaries are tough... I'm thinking of a couple of people today...

Hugs from your goony friend

Aileen said...

I connect to this post for a couple of reasons. One, because I have just returned from my Grandfather's funeral and I have begun to really think about what it must be like to lose a parent. And two, because I just put up a post on my blog thanking a good friend of mine who is an awesome card and letter writer!

Thanks for sharing. Take care of yourself.

call me betty said...

Fond memories of an inspiring woman.
And hugs & love to you xxx

Gary said...

Letty - You got my sinuses cleared up a bit with this one too. I am SO happy that we had an opportunity to talk about your mum, however briefly, when we met. I could see the swell of emotion rising as we spoke. As you wrote, grief does not conform to rules or expectations. Our emotions are right there bubbling under the surface aren't they.

Thanks for sharing this. I'd love to give you a big hug. Consider it sent.

I also wanted to tell you that I read the first of the 12 books to my students today. I chose The Queen's Knickers and they loved it. Also, I exchanged the Percy book #2 for #3 yesterday and will send it off to you. While I was there I discovered there is now a #4! I had best get to it.

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

"grief doesn't conform to rules or expectations" So true.
And neither does joy and the sweetness of an unexpected memory. I wish you many of those when thoughts of your mum come visiting.


Reya Mellicker said...

Lee speaks for me. Grief, like love, art, connection with the divine, will never comform to expectations. It's part of life in this form, though, no way to avoid it. You've been valiant in the expression of your grief over the loss of your mom. Valiant and pure - never pushing it away or ignoring the discomforts of the process. I salute you!

Your mom sounds as wonderful as you are. Thank you for the stories.

What is remembered, lives.

Dumdad said...

This is a very touching and honest post.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

a beautiful and poignant post.

thank you.

deep comforting hugs to you.

Vintage to Victorian said...

I'm so glad you felt able to remind us of the anniversary. So many of us were with you at that sad time and can now send our love and thoughts one year on.
Sue x

lettuce said...

thanks for all your lovely comments, lovely people

trac said...

Yeah... there are some lovely people about.

(You're one of them!)

Ex-Shammickite said...

Today, May 11, is Mother's Day in N America.
The perfect day for these thoughts.
I remember my mum too.

Quentin said...

Quite worthwhile info, much thanks for the post.