11 Aug. 2009

The Last of Our Firsts

Yesterday, August 10th, marked the first year of my Mum's passing. We have had a year of firsts, first birthday, Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day etc, hence my title.
Dad lives five and a half hours away by car, with no stops, but we always stop half way for a break and a meal so the trip invariably stretches out to six or more hours. On Friday night we made the trek to stay at DH's Dad's house, half an hour from my Dad's, so that we could spend some time with my Dad. On Saturday afternoon DH and the kids took me to Dads and I had a sleepover at his place. He cooked tea, quite well I might mention, he is a very capable cook. He would often cook meals for us, I am one of five, when we were growing up as Mum worked alot of nights in the kitchen of a hotel.
Dad has got a little dog, a Jack Russell called Bessie. She is such a blessing. I am sure that she is the reason that Dad gets up in the morning. We, my siblings and I, are so, so pleased that Dad has her. Bessie sleeps with Dad during the night, however when I stayed she came to me during the night and snuggled with me. Dad called her a traitor, lovingly of course, and he was glad to share her with me.
Dad has begun to attend church. I was able to go with him on Sunday morning. My three sisters joined us, albeit a little late, while my brother (church is so not his thing) waited for all of us outside. After a cuppa with the parishioners we all went to the cemetery. One of my sisters bought a bunch of balloons, in rainbow colors, for us to release. DH and the kids had arrived by this stage, and the kids took great delight in being able to release a balloon for their Nanny.
We then went to a hotel for lunch. It was a good day, and a fitting way to remember Mum.
Dad had some misgivings, he made a comment to me that he would like nothing more than for the day to be like any other, for it just to slip by quietly. But with two of my sisters that is just not possible, the bigger the fuss the better as far as they are concerned. Even to the point of 'dancing and stomping' on Mum's grave so that Mum knew that we were there. I was disgusted. I had always been taught that to even walk on someones grave was very disrespectful. I haven't spoken to Dad to see what he thought, but I am sure that he would think the same as me.
Dad spoke of how badly he treated Mum at times, but it mustn't have been all bad as they were married for just shy of 57 years. We had a very stable upbringing. I lived in the same house until I was married, and I never had to change schools, except for going to secondary school when the time came. Dad thought that Mum did a great job of rearing us kids. You see, Dad wasn't always around. He was a shift worker on the railways. I assured him that he was and still is a great influence on all of us.
Mum, I miss you so much, you were always there for us. Whenever I was unwell, you would always come to help out. I still expect you to answer the phone when I ring, or to be on the other end when I answer our phone. I love you Mum and you will always be in my heart.


Bette said...

thinking of you right now. As you know, the 10th is a significant date for us too. Last year, I spent it at Dad's bedside, praying for a miracle, instead of celebrating my youngest's 5th birthday. This year her 6th was all the more special.

Many hugs.

Anonymous said...


Glad your Dad has Bessie to keep him company.

Pumpkin said...

Joanne, I can only imagine how hard it must be for you and your Dad. Things like this do not go away overnight but I'm sure your Dad was very happy to have you there as comfort.


Chars said...

Big hugs. Glad that your dad has Bessie - Animals are such comforting friends.

Kim B said...

Hugs for you and your family.

Gina E. said...

This is a nice tribute to both of your parents, Joanne. I've found in my work with older people that many of them say the same thing as your Dad did - that they felt they weren't kind or good to their spouse. I think things were so tough back in the early part of the 20th century, that they all had to work hard and long, and as things got more affluent, people probably thought about how hard their partner worked, and felt guilty that they couldn't have made their life easier.
I couldn't believe your sisters dancing on your Mum's grave - what an awful thing to do! Are they mad or what?
Thanks for your comments on my blog, it is always nice to see you dropping by!

Beatrice said...

My thoughts go out to you and your family!

Cindy F. said...

I'm truly sorry for your sad anniversary day. Your post has really touched my heart girl! Sending you BIG (((HUGS))) and hoping each day will hurt less, for you and your dad:)

Kathy A. said...

What a lovely tribute to your mom. I am sure it was a very difficult day but you have done your best to make it less painful.

samplerlover said...

Yes, I agree, it is a lovely tribute to your mom. It is lovely that you were all able to spend the time together.
What my Sister, Dad and I have been doing on those special days concerning my Mum is that we buy either a beautiful bunch of flowers or a lovely potted cyclamen plant. My Mum doesn't have a grave, but she loved flowers and we know that she is around us on these special days. - Sandra.

samplerlover said...

Hi Joanne,

It looks as if both our Mums loved cyclamens. My Dad is really good at getting them to reflower the next year. He is the one that buys them as he used to buy them for Mum when she was here.
When they have finished he puts them out on his back veranda where they seem to love to be and when they flower again he takes them inside for awhile. I do it and I get leaves, but no flowers. I mustn't have that special touch lol - Sandra.

Xangles said...

Flowers are a very special way to remember people and I know that when you feel her close, your mum is with you and watching over you as always.

Marita said...

Hugs and prayers.

mainely stitching said...

Thinking of you and your family with love. I'm so glad you were all able to gather, even if you had different ideas of how to mark the occasssion.

Wendy said...

This post has touched my heart too. It is good to read that your dad still has a dog.

Hugs from Belgium,

venus said...

I'm truly sorry for your sad anniversary day. Your post has really touched my heart girl!
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Lynn said...

Your tribute to your Mum was very touching. I'm sure your Dad is very thankful that you were with him to mark the occasion. I'll continue to keep all of you in my prayers. That first year is always so difficult.
I was also taught that walking on a grave was disrespectful but many of my friends think I'm silly.

Bee Jay said...

How lovely that you were all able to be together for the first anniversary - so many memories for you - but also a new year - a new beginning in many ways. So glad your Dad has little Bessie in his life - animals do make such a difference especially when living alone.

Maren said...

I'd have been really kind of offended by the stomping, too. I'm glad your Dad has Bessie to shore him up, particularly for those first anniversaries when being alone is so much harder. Thank you for sharing this tribute to your mom. It was really very touching.

Hazel said...

Beautiful tribute to your mum. Thinking of you. x

Xangles said...

Hi, Joanne. With the fabric for Drawn Thread's MOTH - make sure that if you do get 32 count linen, that it's a very close weave, i.e. linen fibre threads are thick. I've noticed there's quite a variation between fabrics.

Bronny said...

Joanne. I'm touched also by your post. I feel that we are very similar. I lost Mum on Aug 29 2007. She had a massive heart attack and I never got the chance to say goodbye. My Dad lives 5 and half hours away too in Western Vic. They were also just short of their 57th anniversary. We don't get away to see him so often, but we talk lots on the phone. My sister lives 3 blocks away from him, but we don't talk to each other ('cept for emergencies - it's getting better)
We're going to spend Christmas with him this year. I managed to get through the first year, mentally marking off the important dates. She is with me daily - as I've got her hands....and a lot of her mannerisms.
email me if you need to chat..


Chiloe said...


An Aussie girl who loves to cross stitch