For Mother

It’s Mother’s anniversary today – eleven years on.

She adored poppies and this one was in her garden.

She gave us an undying love for nature which I see as one of the most precious gifts any parent can give a child.

Long before anyone was talking about mindfulness, she had us engrossed in our little plots in the garden, lost in the joy of bird-watching, merged with the moods of the sea, enraptured by fleeting rainbows….

Yes, she ensured that her presence would live on through natural beauty and it is a presence that never fails to make me smile.

 

As if it were this week

There is no point denying it. This week feels very raw … still … It is the week during which my Mother had her final stroke eleven years ago, just  45 minutes or so after being told that Father was dying downstairs in the Emergency Department of the same hospital she was in.

It was the stuff of absolute nightmares to witness. I don’t think of the final week of Mother’s life all that often but come May 24th, it hits me every time from the depths of memory. Dad wasn’t dying, as it turned out, and it still plays on my mind how she felt she could die, given that she wouldn’t be leaving him alone.

They were extremely close and it would have been fitting for the two of them to have gone together but, for me, it was a blessing to have Dad around for another 16 months. He was sad, he certainly was, but being him, I think he knew he was doing his fatherly thing by being there to share the sadness with me and to bring me right into his life and share memories which are now a great source of solace and joy.

The sun is beating down, just as it did that last week of Mother’s life. I am drawn to the garden where I want to tend my precious plants and introduce new growth. I am also drawn to the sea, the sea that Mother and I soaked in, in every sense, all our lives.

I know that this sense of ‘that week’ will subside again when we get to June. In the meantime, I think of people who have been unfortunate enough to have to go through both parents dying within days of each other from Covid. Their hearts must be shattered. I just hope they have the possibility of being able to come to a time when memories will not be about the dying week but of shared times of joy.

Now, to the garden to inspect the progress of the new seedlings and the blooming of ‘Happy Dream’ rose as well as the blue geraniums …..

Tramore Beach, Co.Waterford

Twitterless

Twitter and I have a complex relationship. I went off it for three years after being part of it for about 8 years in 2014. Then when Covid struck I rejoined to keep abreast of developments as they were unfolding so quickly.

Some aspects were enjoyable but I soon realized how angry the overall content was making me and ,worse still, I found myself wasting an inordinate amount of time on it.

So Deactivate happened yet again yesterday and I feel like I have managed to get rid of an ingrowing toenail.

I wonder if the Covid situation has made it even angrier than ever or was it that I had forgotten how it used to rile me.

How does anyone else find it?

A Book I Never Wanted to End

I have just come to the end of Tim Winton’s, Land’s Edge: A Coastal Memoir (2010) and can’t recommend it highly enough for sea lovers and those who appreciate stunning descriptive writing.

To my shame I had never heard of the eminent Australian writer, Tim Winton, before but perhaps that was a good thing as I came to the book with no expectations.

I listened to this one on audio and the Australian accent was  an added bonus.

I have a few more lined up and am hoping they bring as much joy as this.

Have you come across any unexpected treasures in the book department lately?

No Escape

I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to household duties and am a great one for shoving things into already crammed spaces just to make it seem like I am at least half civilised.

My ways have been rightly found out in the last while as hubby has been off work due to the Covid restrictions. He is much more ‘house proud’ than I am and has taken to cleaning out presses, cupboards, rooms, behind beds, under cushions … you name it, he’s finding it.

I have just made a mad attempt to scour out the fridge before he got cracking on it and it’s now pristine and half empty with in-date stuff. No more landslides for the moment, every time the door is opened.

I blame my grandmother, Jean, for all this cos she was every bit as bad as I am but you should have seen her garden with its array of vegetables and healthy flowers. She also minded the lambs and hens and baked the most delicious food, some with her homemade butter.

I loved her house and all the clutter that came with it. I can just see her in my long distance memory calling me to help her to collect some newly laid eggs.

No doubt, I am not alone in being discovered during this lockdown. I guess it could be a helluva lot worse!

Now to try and find my jacket, which is probably hanging up somewhere  in astonishment …

The Bypass

I have it in for bypasses – those ring roads around cities, towns and villages. I feel that they have half killed many lovely places and have knocked their hearts out with the building of out of town shopping complexes and the like.

Yes, I know they have eased traffic jams but …

Anyway, one of my walks that pretty much fits the Covid19  ‘no more than 2km from your home restriction’ is a loop that includes a chunk of Tramore’s bypass.

I never walk on it normally but we’re not talking ‘normal’ at present. I hadn’t quite worked out what exactly I had against it as a walking spot until yesterday when I went in the opposite way to usual and started with the old part of the town. That brings me passed my late parents’ house and the zillions of memories associated with them; across the top of Main Street, which always has me gazing down the steep hill to the beach; across Priests’ Road, with its looming church and houses I have known since I was tiny. It also includes a former sweet shop which makes me think of the day when I was three and waiting so excitedly to see Dad driving Mother home from hospital in our Morris Minor after a very close encounter with death.

On around the corner and there’s the entrance to Love Lane and the tennis club that was such a part of my life.

Up the steep Newtown Hill with its beautiful old walls and the place where there used to be a caravan site with terrific views of the sea.  Mother and Father rented a caravan there every Summer in the early years of their married life as they had to vacate their rented house. They adored the caravan, even though I never saw Father as a caravan type of person as he was big into organising his own space.

As I head up the hill, there’s thoughts of all the roads to my favourite beaches on out the coast but alas it’s time to turn onto the bypass. So, yesterday, I saw how the walls changed from the shapely old stone walls to concrete blocks. The bypass is straight with no twists and turns to keep you wondering.

It backs onto gardens so there’s no keeping on eye on how plants are coming along; just the odd glimpse of clothes flying high on washing lines.

About half way along is a roundabout that makes you think everyone should have at least five pairs of eyes. One of its roads heads to what seems like one of the new town centres. All modern and ‘busy, busy …’

The last lap brings me back to near our place. It includes newish houses and some that have been there for my forever.

This is the key, I think, the bypass holds no memories for me. It isn’t a road of my life as it will be for kids of today who will remember having their first cycle there or a first kiss.

I guess few of us move entirely with the times when it comes to place. Rather, we see familiar places in the guise that evokes the most for us.

If I live long enough, maybe, just maybe, the bypass, now about 20 years old, will become etched into my heart and mind’s eye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Glad to be Asked

I guess I am not alone in feeling that staying at home isn’t doing much in terms of putting a shoulder to the wheel to try rid us of this virus.

It all reminds me a bit of a time when I was pregnant and not allowed to do a thing because of high blood pressure. I was moaning to my mother about being so useless and she said, “You’re doing a very important job, giving your baby the best possible chance of survival and good health.”

This lockdown scenario is even more important than that because there’s more than just one life involved – It’s potentially millions around the world.

Having said all that, I was thrilled to be able to post a few letters today for a woman I hardly know who is in complete lockdown.

I know now that I have got to keep thinking of how we’re not doing nothing, we’re doing arguably the most significant thing we will ever do as a collective.

Be safe, my friends and don’t hesitate to ask …..