Thursday, July 11, 2013

OOTD ~ remembering friends...

It was a glorious day outside, sunshine, warmth and a gentle breeze.

Mother asked me to accompany her shopping and suggested we pop into our favourite eatery for a light lunch.

Linen J Jill shirt
white tank

Jackpot white pants 
Lily Bleu flip flops

As creatures of habit I opted for the house salad with feta cheese and Mother chose a thin crust pizzette
two glasses of lemon infused water
(served in plastic tumblers which Mother cannot abide)
and our ritual pots of orange pekoe tea
(served in individual teapots which Mother applauds!)

Conversation wanders off tangentally as we think of things to relate to each other.

Mother recently lost a dear friend and neighbour and is grieving...
the two were widows and spent time together sipping wine, going to the theatre and keeping each other company.
Mother has very few friends left and feels with each death she is nudging closer to her own demise.

Having lost a few friends myself I know how emotional a process this can be...
it is so unsettling
like the rug has been pulled out from under.

A topsy turvy equilibrium follows.
Tears flow freely unbidden...

standing at the sink washing up the dishes
reading a book
listening to music
pulling weeds
looking out the window
looking at old photos of us all together...

it doesn't take much to shake those memories loose...
simple threads dangling from a tapestry

There was a long time friend Margaret who grew up and attended school with me who died suddenly leaving two young girls and a husband in her wake.
This death stunned and shocked me to the core...

A few years later another girlfriend, also named Margaret,
one of the "original four" bridge partners lost her battle to cancer
she left a huge void.
It must have been so difficult for her as she knew she was leaving three very young girls, a husband, family, friends, and a career as a dedicated teacher...
when I visited her the last time in Hospice
she was in a coma and all I could do was weep and gently hold her hand.

It took years to come to terms with her demise and I think of her often.

Visiting with the girls
lovely women in their own right
who have become who they are without the gentle guiding and nurturing hand of their mothers
I cannot help but wonder how losing their mothers has impacted their lives...

Saying goodbye and letting go...
are we ever over the grief?
How do we come to terms with our own mortality?

Living life fully
not having regrets
treading gently on life's path
being kind
helping others
making a difference
taking time to honour those who have left...

Mother and I will attend a service, a "celebration of life" in a few days.
We have been advised to wear a bright scarf.

Mother mentioned that she has already decided what to wear and I have yet to decide...
I am leaning towards my black dress by Gilmour and a bright Hermes scarf.
The LBD not because of it's colour but because it fits well and is a summer weight bamboo.

“Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower.
We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.”
                                  ~ William Wordsworth ~


  1. As I began reading your post I was thinking how fortunate for you to have your Mother. I lost my own beautiful mother far too many years ago. Someone ask me recently if you ever stop missing them. The answer is no. So many things come up when one needs a mother's advice, even at my age. We continue to put one foot in front of the other and strive to be the person our mother's would have been proud of. Sending thoughts of comfort for both you and your sweet mother.

    1. so true Bonnie. I had forgotten that Wordsworth quote thank you.

    2. have answered my question...
      thank you.
      A Mother's touch is never forgotten...

  2. I read your blog often, but do not comment much. But this spoke to me. Lovely.

    1. Cornelia,
      This post came straight from my heart....
      I wrote it early in the morning when the thoughts were fresh.

  3. Such a wise post. I visited my 88 year old mother yesterday, played Scrabble with her and talked about the lifelong friend she just lost, a woman who was like a sister to her. I can tell she is thinking of what must come.

    1. I do the crossword with Mom, I think word games keep their grey cells crisp!
      Scrabble is a wonderful game to share...

  4. Interesting that this post should come on the seventh anniversary of my mother's passing. A day doesn't go by that I don't think of something I want to call and tell her or see something that I know she would have gotten a real kick out of. There are so many wonderful memories but there are many, too,from early childhood that are lost because they are vague to my memory . This is my favorite quote about mothers by Graysie Harmon: "My mother is a never-ending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I will always remember the tune." I think this can be said of friends as well.

    1. That quote is very beautiful.
      It is interesting how close the maternal bonds are...

  5. what a lovely mom is 83 and we are facing these issues as say it all so beautifully...wished you lived on my block in WA state :)

    1. My mother is's interesting to me that so many women are sharing this time of life together.

  6. We all want to live a long, healthy life. But what comes with a long life is grief over the loss of those we love who go before us. I see a woman once a week who will be 101-years-old next month. She has suffered the loss of two husbands, a son, a grandson, granddaughter and countless friends. She has never fully gotten over those losses, even the ones that were many decades ago, though she carries on and leads a full life.

    1. Your friend sounds like she has seen a lot of life and a lot of grief....
      101 years is an amazing milestone!
      If we are fortunate enough to live that long it is natural to see many lives slip away...
      and of course we move forward, of that I am certain.

  7. Hostess, I have lost a number of close dear friends, including my best friend (and high school debate partner) from growing up. She was a physician who died at age 51 (would be 61 now) of lung cancer. She never smoked. It was a wake up call when she died--a reminder not to put off plans or pleasure.

    On another note, I am wearing a J. Jill linen shift today--one of two I purchased this season. They are just the thing in out hot Texas weather. So, I applaud your J. Jill linen shirt. You always look so chic in your pearls.

    1. Susan,

      The lessons that one learns from witnessing life cut short do help the living to embrace everyday with an attitude of gratitude. Thank you for reminding us of this valuable lesson.
      I must go south to shop at J.Jill! I love their linen...

  8. mamasue, I wish Hostess lived on my block in Dallas, TX as well.

  9. My mum and I just returned from 2 days in Laconner. She is feeling alone as one by one, friends die or lose their memories.
    I had a close friend in Cedar who died at 40 leaving an 11 year old. She never gets older in my mind because I remember the fun times that we had. It is all about accepting our mortality and remembering those who have left us.

    1. Madame La-Bas,
      Your comment "Friends die or lose their memories" is very close to home as Mr. HB's mother has Alzheimer's and she lives this sad.
      Your Mother is fortunate that you are playing an active role in her life.

      Losing a friend before their time has a profound are embracing the good times which is a tribute to your friend and her memory.

  10. I lost a good friend when I was aged 19, and my mother seven years ago, so this post spoke to me as well. I guess it teaches us to appreciate our own lives, the days we have and that none of us really know when it can be over.

    Two friends have teenage boys with bad cancer at the moment, so that also sits in my mind every day, and makes me think that we are lucky to get all of these years to enjoy our own friends and family.

    Julie Q

    1. I must believe in my heart that the scientists are getting closer and closer to a cure for cancer as it has taken so many lives...young and old alike. It seems so unfair to take children and babies...
      a local young child Baby Molly Campbell died this week and she had cancer since she was about 2 months and had to undergo invasive and painful treatments...

      Greeting each day positively is exactly what we need to do.
      Poppy Q I hope that you are able to support your friends in their struggle with their sons...
      just listening is enough.

  11. fully for the day is key. Lovely to share times with your mother now and she must feel so loved and supported by your sister and you. But it must get so lonely as one gets older and outlives partners and friends. My husband and I lost a four year old son to cancer thirty years ago. The pain never really goes. I can never listen to small children singing without the tears flowing. And I pass things in the car and hear his little voice commenting or asking to stop at that playground. Sometimes I see people dealing harshly with their little ones in the shopping centres and I feel like stopping to tell them to cherish everything..early morning wake-up tantrums..the lot. But I don't. After a while people don't want to talk about your loss - and I don't like to bring the mood down. But when people ask how many children I have, I always say four and include Joshua. How could I not? - May

  12. May, I understand your desire to tell people to cherish even trying times with their children. Our younger grandson was born with many health challenges which will be with him forever. For quite some time, it was all I could do to keep myself from accosting young mothers with babies in strollers and telling them to treasure their little miracles. I've gotten past that now, but it wasn't easy. But, I do marvel in the perfection of babies, children and life itself.

    1. My post upon re-reading does sound maudlin. Sorry! I'm not unhappy all the time of course and mostly the 'moments' I have are private. I have three other grown up children to enjoy and rejoice in. Talking about accosting people - I once was browsing in a book shop (I'm a school librarian) when a small girl wa drooling over a copy of Charlotte's Web. She was practically begging for the book which made my heart sing. Then Mum said "Oh, don't worry about the book, We can get the video." Oh dear, that time I really had to hold back!
      Susan - I know you will be a special Grandma to a special grandson and I wish you and the little one all the very best and sending love and good vibes your way - May

  13. Susan,

    I have spent most of my career in education working with "special needs children" they have many gifts which are not immediately obvious to the casual observer ~ they offer many opportunites for us to be entertained, focused, alert and questioning the parameters of development. We all progress at an individual rate...there are many surprises and most are heartwarming.

    Parents and families of special needs children have a difficult job and we all need to play our part in offering empathy and continued support, lobbying government for care and respite so that they can remain contributing members of society.
    Special needs children teach the mainstream students volumes about humanity.

    Life is precious ~ I am a huge fan of babies and children...always have been.
    In high school I was in a group that volunteered at the local hospital on our lunch breaks with children and adults who had developmental challenges.

    My heart goes out to you as you have an important role in your grandson's life and it is not an easy one...
    but in my experience it is so worth it...stay the course Susan.

  14. Your post and the resulting comments have touched me so much, I don't have much to say. Hugs to all, and especially to you Leslie, for having the words and the courage to write about feeling of mortality and actual deaths ~ it's something so universal and yet we all seem to tiptoe around the subject. I hope it can continue to be discussed as I think it brings comfort to us all to share stories and fears. Thank you.

  15. Hostess, you are so right about the joys and wonders children with special needs bring. Each bit of progress is celebrated and noticed. The acquisition of new skills is eagerly anticipated. Joyous phone calls are made with new developments, videos are sent and watched over and over again. Yes, the parents have a very challenging job and grandparents worry and try to help in every way they can, while marveling at the resilience of young parents.

    I was fortunate to be a volunteer counselor when I was a teenager at a summer camp for children with special needs, so I learned early how precious they are--just like other children. But, what I did not fully realize before the birth of our grandson is the true miracle each healthy child represents.

  16. Dear Hostess - off topic but I was reading through previous posts - the one where you visited a small retailer and bought some gorgeous undergarments. I also prefer the smaller shops and we have one called Petticoat Junction where I live. One day when I was there an very elderly lady from the nearby seniors retirement village came in to return a bra she had purchased to wear to a wedding. She was puzzled why it didn't fit as it was identical size and style to one she had purchased previously. The very vivacious and outgoing assistant who is in her 60s was so lovely her when she took the bra out of the bag and realised the bra didn't fit simply because the straps hadn't been let out! It brought a lump to my throat to hear her treat this lady with such tenderness and care . She didn't make her feel silly or embarrassed . I wondered what would have happened had the purchase been made in a large shopping complex. It made me think of your mother too and how important it is to be kind to people in our everyday dealings with other. We never know what they are dealing with. Was touched by your post. Tonkath

  17. Leslie, such a good post about our mothers and girlfriends. My mom was wonderful and I still miss her.
    She left this world nine years ago, but I still have my memories of her.

  18. Leslie, my own mother is 88 and suffers from dementia and is in extended care. I have her in body and she is still very sweet, but her personality and history are no longer there and I grieve for the mother I no longer have. Though I treasure her still. Much love, Violet.