May 28

28 May

Today, had she lived, my mother would have been – I’m pretty sure, based on the little sums I’ve been doing all day – sixty years old. And because of this, and other things which aren’t really mine to share, it has been…oh, it has been a sad day. Depths-of-the-soul and face-your-demons sad. I’m sure you know what I mean. You’ve had such days. The kind of days when you don’t dare speak to anyone, not even the kindy mums, because their simple how are yous will make you cry and you’ve already cried all night.

This morning, I said to my boy you know, I really can’t say ‘please get dressed’ again…I’m tired and sad and he said sadder than 100 lions and I said yes and he said sadder than ten thousand lions and I said sadder than I can describe. And so, he dressed himself, including his socks and a quiet hunt for his shoes and he made sure his brother had socks and then he said please can I help you make the lunch. He can’t possibly have known the significance of making the lunch.

And the day made me think, my mother – whose own mother died when all of us were young – never said to me I’m feeling sad, because today is my mother’s birthday. But it must have happened. That she felt sad. And it made me think of the lessons we learn from our mothers. They teach us how to be daughters and mothers ourselves. And goodness me, doesn’t grief go on and on and on.

I thought to myself, as I marveered the dressing table – marveer belongs to my memories of her – she would have had a party and it’s true. She would. And then, I realised, that I can’t really guess at how things might have been. Because where do you start? Do you assume the accident didn’t happen? Or did it happen, but…Where do you start with how things might have been?

And then, this afternoon, I cleared the mailbox and there was a card from one of her best friends and she said caught your gig on Raw. And that reminded me of how it was that night in Melbourne. Amazing. Truly amazing. But gee. There’s a lot of spaces you can anticipate. Having children. Your brother’s wedding. They are the spaces you know. But then, just every now and then, a really big thing comes along and out of nowhere you realise. She isn’t here.

We have shared in the last hour or so, the mister and I, a bottle of Lake Breeze Bernoota Shiraz. 1995. It’s very, very good. There’re only two bottles left. I say I notice that you’ve had your fair share because that is something he doesn’t always do, and he says well, it’s bloody good plonk I’m not going to let you scoff the lot and I say I believe the word is quaff, but he pretends to have his head stuck in the dishwasher. He misses her too.

Tomorrow will be okay.


13 Responses to “May 28”

  1. Mummy Crit May 28, 2007 at 9:19 pm #

    Good post. You made me feel sad too, and I’ve been needing to feel _something_, rather than this dull numbness. Thank you. I hope tomorrow _is_ better, but I’m glad the shiraz was good.

  2. Pavlov's Cat May 28, 2007 at 10:55 pm #

    Onya 3C, drink the wine.

    My ma would have turned 80 a week ago today, so I’ve got a bit of an idea how you’re feeling. If God had meant us to get all the way through these days without help, She would never have invented good red wine.

  3. Pavlov's Cat May 28, 2007 at 10:55 pm #

    Onya 3C, drink the wine.

    My ma would have turned 80 a week ago today, so I’ve got a bit of an idea how you’re feeling. If God had meant us to get all the way through these days without help, She would never have invented good red wine.

  4. Ariel May 28, 2007 at 11:06 pm #

    This IS a sad post, but a beautiful one. What a boy you have there – you’ve certainly done something right with your own mothering.

    I can’t imagine how you must feel, or at least, I can only touch the bare edges of it. But I wish you the best and hope tomorrow is indeed better.

  5. tut-tut May 29, 2007 at 6:26 am #

    Well, I know what kinds of feelings your having; writing about it helps but doesn’t take away the aloneness.

  6. SQ May 29, 2007 at 9:38 am #

    Take care.

  7. suse May 29, 2007 at 9:53 am #

    Internetty blessings to you …

  8. elsewhere May 29, 2007 at 12:47 pm #

    Sorry — these death days are hard, arne’t they, and often in a way that’s hard to communicate to others. One woman I used to work with brought in flowers and a bottle of champers on her father’s death day, because that’s how she felt he’d like to be remembered.

    Loved your boy’s comment about the lions — but why are lions sad? That’s a new one on me.

    1995 was a very good year for Australian red wines.

  9. ThirdCat May 29, 2007 at 1:26 pm #

    Hi all – thanks for good wishes. My keel is even again now (well, you know, as even as it is likely to get).

    I’m not sure why he chooses lions for such expressions. He also says ‘angrier than 100 lions’. I think it is more that they’re enormous and their emotions would be enormous too, rather than that they are particularly known for their sadness.

    having opened that bottle, now we’re not sure what to do with the others – drink them now, because they are gorgeous or save them and possibly let them get corked (our cellaring conditions have been less than ideal over the years).

  10. Zoe May 29, 2007 at 8:34 pm #

    In that case, I encourage you to drink them soon.


  11. Helen May 31, 2007 at 9:54 am #

    I’m sorry you feel like this, Thirdcat.
    Here, have some cyberchocolate. I know what these anniversaries are like.

  12. suzoz May 31, 2007 at 12:25 pm #

    I often have such thoughts about my own dead mother too, whose birthday I share, so birthdays have a particular frisson for me.
    (I wrote a piece in this book about my own mother’s death but don’t know if it’s available here these days.)

  13. Comic Mummy June 3, 2007 at 10:35 am #

    My mum died too when I was quite young – birthdays/anniversaries etc are certainly a big thing to get through. Hope you’re feeling a bit better. How beautiful that your son was able to rise to the occasion for you.

    And congrats on Raw too, that’s fantastic. xx

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