Yesterday My Mother would have turned one hundred years old, if she had lived past 87** It was such a shock when we lost her. My father had been fragile in health for years and years, and she was always the one that walked everywhere, visited people in hospital, went to Mass every lunch time and was generally never one to let the grass grow under her feet. Along with her many duties, she also found time to practice her singing with a singing tutor. This last fact I only found out when going shopping with her, and we bumped into this lady who my mother introduced as her singing teacher** Born in 1915, her birth was not registered until 1916, so she always told me that her mother had said she was actually a year older than the authorities knew. She was married for almost 60 years to my father and despite all their ups and downs, remained in love with him until she died. When she died, my father was totally bereft, and he joined her 13 months later. His life without her was so empty, he could not wait to be with her again.
She was petite, only 4ft 11 and a half inches high, and always wore high heels. She never wore flats until she was in her eighties* She had a trim figure and such a wonderful sense of humour and laughter, she was great fun to be around. She could be strict mind you, and my children saw that side of her, much more than I did.. Our parenting skills were different I guess, and when my kids visited, she made sure they watched their p's and q's all the time.. Nonetheless, all my children adored her and attended her funeral in Crawley Sussex. My brother who lived in Belgium was there, and took my father back with him after the ceremony so he would not be alone again.
When we received the birth certificate, we noted that her real name was just Rosie.... definately NOT
Rosina as she had called her self for almost 80 years! Born into a poor working class family in London, she and her siblings had a tough early life with money being very scarce, my grandfather being the only worker in the home. With 9 children to feed, he had to keep working , when it snowed he would crawl if he had to, in traversing difficult icy road, in order to get to his job and provide money for his family. Marrying my grandmother in her teens, they had had another two children, who had died in a house fire, long before they started having my mother and her siblings. They never got over their loss, but they treated all their following children with deep love and affection, and strong discipline. Somehow with so little money, all the children thrived, except one little boy, who, when my grandmother had to go away with the newborn, to recuperate, stopped eating and fretting for his mother and so died before she returned home.. I cannot imagine how that would have affected them, after losing the first two, but they carried on as you did in those days. From her earliest moments, my mother was born to sing. Her voice was a true soprano, and was so lovely to hear. Even listening to her, I was aware of how her mouth and throat vibrated as she sang. I heard later that her mother also had had a beautiful voice. However my mother managed to get a manager, and she later worked in the war effort, entertaining troops all over the UK in the early days of the war.. Once time even carrying on singing as the road was bombed, so everyone would not stampede to get out of the theatre in a rush.*
My mother was not as educated as my father, or my brother and myself, but my goodness she still was very clever and knew her way around.. Many times she was able to tell me what to do in certain circumstances and I valued her input. Of course as a teenager I was not the best daughter and I know that I did push the limit and often broke her heart, but she forgave me, and our relationship as adults was very very close indeed. Thankfully, I might add, she never rubbed it in, the way I had treated her as a younger person.. instead she offered it up in Prayer.. that was how she dealt with problems, prayed harder... bless her..
So it would have been her birthday, but one hundred years or not, I bet she would have refused a party... because as she always said.. she was never going to be old... so she didn't allow herself to get old... she just grew wiser and a little more frail, but kept her independence to the end...
Happy Birthday Mother, I hope you are looking down on us and seeing how much we still love you and Dad..x
Thursday, 16 July 2015
I was a bit apprehensive going to visit the clinic again after my lumpectomy ten days ago. The traffic was light, parking was easy, and the instant that I got inside the clinic, my name was called!!!I really did not expect to be seen so quickly.. but we both went in to meet the specialist. She was a middle aged doctor, who had not actually done my operation, but was there to give me the results of the biopsy done on the cells that they removed. She had a huge grin on her face, when she said that all the cells had been found and collected and that there were no more inside me* I couldn't believe how relieved I felt at that moment.. a huge weight that I didn't even know I had on my shoulders, seemed to disappear and make me feel quite giddy and light!
She told me that I would be having the radiotherapy for around five to six weeks to make doubly sure that none were developing and that afterwards I would have an appointment for a mammogram every year to keep a check on me. I guess they have to tell a lot of women, news that was not as happy as mine, because they[ the nurse and the specialist] both seemed so pleased to give me this news. John sat back with a huge sigh and obviously he had been under some pressure and worry.. I have to meet up with the Oncologist on July 28th next who will give me more information about the radiotherapy and what happens when it is being done and the results they hope to achieve.
As I've said before, I deal with problems by putting them on my back burner until I have to deal with them, and I had not realised just what a strain the last few weeks had been. I keep thinking that if I had not done that Mammogram, I would still be not knowing... and how awful that might have turned out. We are so fortunate to have a National Health Scheme, but the truth is, we have all got so blase about it, we don't treat it with the respect it deserves... Of course its not perfect, but my goodness when it does work preventitavely it really is a godsend.!!
.. So all of you who were thinking about me and this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart... I have my life back and will treasure it even more than before*
I find out today how the operation last week went.. whether they need to take out more, or all is good as it is..
Today I go to meet up with the specialists at the Breast Clinic to find out if they are satisfied with their operation on me last week. I'm hoping that they have scooped out all the dangerous would be cancer cells and that I will start the radiotherapy sooner rather than later. I have been quite shaken by the fact that as always, I underestimated the impact the operation would have on me, and was quite tired for several days afterwards. I luckily had very little discomfort and so didn't need too many painkillers. I am so glad that I had my holiday with my girl, before, as it made me very relaxed and ready to deal with the situation on my return. I just hope that this afternoon's talk will be of a positive nature and that apart from the radiotherapy, nothing more will need to be done. The scar is much bigger than I thought too, and is about six inches across the top of my chest. I guess the line will fade in time, at the moment, the glue still seems attached, although flaking a bit here and there. The difficulty of taking the painkillers has made me much too constipated to feel comfortable, so lessoning them, I have been left with incontinence in my bowels which is just as nasty and uncomfortable to deal with. However, these are small considerations to the fact that my cancer possibility was caught and dealt with , with all possible speed.. Good old NHS!
Friday, 10 July 2015
The last time I visited Canada was 11 years ago when my granddaughter Caitlin was born. She joined her brother Callum with my daughter and husband in their new lives in Canada. When my daughter Gabriella first went to live in Canada, Callum was only three years old. She had arranged for the canadian part of the firm she worked for in Uk, to have a job there so she could emigrate with her family. Because her husband had his grandparents living in the Vancouver area after his aunt had married a canadian, that was the first place they settled. I was lucky enough to be able to visit them there a few times, and found that even the winter was easy to cope with, it being a much milder part of the country. However with work, Gabriella had to transfer to Toronto, and they lived in a little town called Aurora. They had a marvelous new house, and the son grew stronger every day and then to complete their happiness their daughter joined them as I said, 11 years ago. With an age gap of 6 years I think that Callum had his nose put slightly out of joint.. from being sole to sharing did not come easy to him. As he grew into his teens, they decided to move somewhere more rural and to get him away from bad influences that he had made. They settled in a place a couple of hours away from Toronto, and found a home with three acres to live on. Unfortunately this did not help to get Callum back on the straight and narrow, and his relationship with his parents is very fraught and he no longer lives at home. I realised a long time ago that my grandson was a very tense wound up personality, always close to tears, and he had been bullied at school. When he started to realise that cannabis could ease his anxiety he went for it like a ton of bricks and this has caused his rift with the family. He has also been diagnosed with Aspergers, and will not seek medical help, relying on the drugs, and doing all sorts of anti social activities to get the money to buy it. This is the household that I came to see at the end of this June. I had not seen my girl in person for a whole six years and it was marvelous to hug and hold her again, and to see Caitlin so grown up at 11* The weather at first was hot and wonderfully relaxing as I sat and read on their back deck overlooking the gardens and the fields in the distance. [It is so irritating that I am unable to put pictures into this as I keep getting error notice, so I will have to try another time]. Because I had already done all the touristy things before, I just lived the lives that my kids did there and met all their friends, visited the town and did some shopping... visited more friends to have meals with and generally had such a relaxing time that I was able to read..12 books, full length ones at that!! Never before have I had such a book fest!! The weather became rather annoying with rain and storms, interspersed with the hot sunny days, but I was there to relax and that is all that I did do... We made bread together by hand, and a wonderful reubarb crumble pie and lots of other delicious things to eat... My girl is a great cook also, but her husband being so english, he doesnt like the experiment, just preferring plain meat and two vegs!! The 2 weeks passed so fast, and I got to see Caitlin and her friends playing volley ball on the beach, saw Canada day festivities which were very lovely to see.. To know how proud the Canadians are of being canadian, unlike here in UK where we seem afraid to say we are English... so all in all I loved my visit. I would buy a house to live there in a heartbeat* I also caught up with a friend that I have been in touch with since 1963, and the last time we met was on my last visit.. So we all went out for a meal, and we didnt stop talking all night! We never run out of things to chat about, and with Gaby with me, and Joe her brother who drove my friend to our rendevous, the evening passed in a flash. I hope I get back again to see them all very soon, and not leave it another several years again... The whole trip left me so relaxed and ready to cope with the lumpectomy that I had done less than a week after my return from my holiday...
Wednesday, 8 July 2015
On my return from Canada last thursday, I managed to continue to relax until Monday when I was driven to the Breast Cancer Unit by my husband. Standing outside waiting to go in, we met another lady who was also going to have a similar procedure, but she already knew that her cells were cancerous and was very very worried. John didnt say much, but sat waiting inside the Clinic whilst I went off to be weighed and measured and tested for my pre op assessment. All in all, it took a couple of hours. Whilst he waited he noticed a young man with a tiny baby, obviously his wife had the dreaded C, and then another lady covering her head with a bright scarf went by. These observations together with waiting for me for a couple of hours really did upset and worry him. However my cells are supposed to be pre cancerous, so after my assessment I tried to reassure him that all would be well the following day when I went in for the actual operation. We had another early night as we have to leave the house around 7 in order to be there at 8 again. He already had told me that if it was him, he would not have the operation, and I must admit that previously I thought I would not let the knife go near me, but I realised that I could not live with it ticking away in me, not knowing whether they were going to develop into cancer ... so my mind was already made up. Tuesday I was at the clinic and waited until 1.30 before the wire was inserted and then I was taken to surgery another hour later.. The next thing I knew, I was back in recovery room, not breathing too brilliantly, but I already had an oxygen mask on, so gradually I began to come around and in half an hour was already feeling not too bad. I waited another couple of hours, before they called John to come and collect me. Returning to the house, I went straight to bed and slept through to this morning.. Today, although still tired my boob is not hurting as much as I expected, but I have really taken to task and not involved myself in anything to do with housework, just read and watched the computer... So, here my little tale ends... next Thursday I will go to have the results of the operation told me, and then a date to start the radiotherapy.. I am relieved that the op is over, I was thinking of my friend in Spain who had an operation on her throat and then although the operation had been successful, she died of a massive heart attack,, and of course she did not know that was her future.. so I was thinking,'' that might be me.'.. luckily it was not.. but you do get to think strange thoughts from time to time don't you**? by the way my holiday in Canada was so lovely, I shall write about it soon and put pictures up.. glad to have seen my girl again after not seeing her to cuddle for over 6 years! <
Wednesday, 17 June 2015
(author unknown) Lord, Thou knowest I am growing older Keep me from becoming talkative and possessed with the idea that I must express myself on every subject. Release me from the craving to straighten out everyone's affairs. Keep me from the recital of endless detail. Give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips when I am inclined to tell of my aches and pains. They are increasing with the years and my love to speak of them grows sweeter as time goes by. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong. Make me thoughtful but not nosey; helpful, but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom and experience it does seem a pity not to use it all. But Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end. My mom is still teaching me and making me smile
Yesterday I was in a strange mood all day..the past week I have been waiting for my friend's daughters to contact me with the latest news after their mother had taken a turn for the worst.When I had gone to see her in May, she knew that she was near the end although it was so difficult to imagine, but she said she was so tired of pretending that she was feeling better than she actually did, so as not to worry her dear ones.. and that she was ready now.. I spent an afternoon with her, just as if the years had rolled by and it was a good chat and lovely to be with her. When I left I gave her a big cuddle and told her I loved her and she loved me back.. As I drove away I was crying at the unfairness of death choosing to arrive too soon.. she surely had had a lot more years in front of her until the big C turned up. Last night on Facebook her daughters announced that their mum had left us at ten oclock that morning... so that must have been why I had felt so restless all day.. Then they put up happy pictures of their mother when she was younger and now, and it made me cry all over again. We had grown so close in our teen years, and than marriage and moving around had stopped us seeing each other, but we always kept in touch and the odd phone call.. Now she is gone, but at least I had a chance to tell her how I loved her.. In a grown woman, saying such things is not to be done lightly, but I meant with all my heart and I know she knew that. I am away now to Canada tomorrow, and do hope that I can attend a service for her when I get back, hopefully it will not be done whilst I am away. I guess, that why I am writing this, is its never to late to try and contact a person that has been out of touch for a while, even if it is years, a phone call can bring you back together again, and its such fun to know someone who knew you before you became who you are now.. Life is too short to have difficulties stopping you talking over the phone or texting.. its all so immediate now, so no excuse for not getting back in touch.. I know I was glad that I did, even to lose her so soon afterwards.