Monday, 13 January 2014

The Twelfth

It's an odd word, isn't it? Twelfth? The "lfth" is rather awkward falling off the tongue... I think it rather trips up and flounders a bit.

But the 12th of January is a day of mixed emotions for me.

A dear friend with whom I work celebrates her birthday on that day, as does my lovely Auntie Peggy.

Peggy turned 81 this year, and she threw herself a bit of a party. Why not? No point in surprises, and because the whole extended family tends to just carry on and forget these occasions, she phoned everyone up, saying she was making a big pot of vegetarian chili, with a pot of meat stewed up that could be added in for those so inclined to be carnivorous, and had a birthday cake ready to go as well.

So it became a family gathering with people coming and going, Happy Birthday being sung numerous times as it was also around the time of my cousin Sandie's 64th birthday, and my stepcousin Joyce's 48th. So the large (store bought) slab cake was festooned with numbers and names and little Jude got to blow all the candles out, assisting the birthday girls as each took their turn. He's 3 and a half. That half is important, you know, especially when you are three.

But it is also, this twelfth day of January, the anniversary of my mother's death. She passed away in 2003, just 2 1/2 months after my paternal grandmother (who was 95 and sharp as a tack to the end). My mum was a smoker and an alcoholic. She loved her scotch and her Camels. So her end was a long drawn out affair with addiction and emphysema... a very nasty way to go, judging from the length of time I watched her huff and puff, lose weight and become increasingly anxious. Being hypoxic and always slightly tippled isn't such a good mix.

So I was very happy to spend the afternoon and part of the evening visiting with family, rather than wandering around the house with Mum on my mind. Although I was glad her suffering was ended when she died, I still miss her very much. But I guess that is pretty much the case for anyone you love who has been afflicted with a debilitating illness.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss. Grief can hit at the oddest moments. Last Friday I just felt so out of it and..sad. It wasn't until the next day that I realized that Friday had been the date my favorite Grandmother had passed. The one my Mom says I'm so like.

    But I'm glad you had some happy to balance out the sad. Any kid trying to blow out candles is bound to bring a smile. :)

  2. I end up saying twelfff!
    It's the way the light falls that reminds me of significant dates - the time of year when the sun is low... or high, and little seasonal details, and I can find myself feeling sad, then I look in the diary and I will know why.

  3. You have my heart, sugar. xoxoxoxox

  4. It's okay to feel sad when we think of lost loved ones. It means that we truly loved them and miss them. And I get those moments of sadness, too, sometimes, even unexpectedly. I could be doing something and all of a sudden, I'm struck by the thought of a loved one who passed on and I suddenly feel sad.

    Every day that I wake up, I consider it a gift, an opportunity to live life as best and fully as I can, and I see it as another chance to tell my loved ones that I love them and try to spend as much time I have doing the things I love with the people I love.

    I'm really glad you got to enjoy time with your family to celebrate the lives of those still with us and remember those who've passed on.

    P.S. I smiled when read about 3 1/2 year old Jude helping out with the candles. Here's to wishing Jude and the birthday girls many more years of life full of joy, love, and wonder.


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