Se the ‘before’ on Just Snaps.
I rarely post family photographs on this blog, but today is special.
This is a photograph of me with my mother. It isn’t the most recent as her condition has deteriorated somewhat in the meantime. She will be 96 towards the end of this month. As a; young woman she was one of the few girls to be called up into the services during the Second World War. She played an important role in intercepting enemy messages. This little personal tribute is a way of saying ‘Thank you’ to all who sacrificed their lives, and also to all those thousands who served so valiantly during that time.
During the month of June donations for the Alzheimers Society can be made via this page where you can also read more detail of why I’m collecting money for this wonderful organisation.
We spent last evening with friends old and new. One has been a faithful friend for over 30 years and another we met for the first time. However, we were all united in a common cause, to celebrate our friendship and share the highs and lows of the last year.
It has become a tradition for 10 of us to get together on New Year’s eve for this purpose. We are an eclectic bunch, one has lived in the same house for over 60 years having been born just around the corner, others have, and some still do, travelled the world for both work and pleasure. Others join us too, and last night was no exception. Around the table were people from England, Wales, Scotland, Russia, and India. The hostess is Russian, and we were treated to a veritable feast of food – good healthy food.
Thanks to the internet we were joined, via Skype, with friends from Switzerland. We watched the celebrations in their small town as midnight struck just outside Geneva. We saw a dark, black sky filled with splashes of bright lights and heard the sounds of cheering as locals welcomed the New Year. An hour later we too watched the clock turn from 2013 to 2014.
Our celebrations were not quite so noisy, but just as happy and heartfelt.
2013 was not a good year for me, for various reasons. I’m looking forward – with a new vision for 2014 – full of anticipation for things that are already planned. I also have new creative projects lined up that I must complete. I’ll mention them from time to time here, but I’ve also need to document them more fully, and I have talked about that here.
Thank you for joining me during 2013. I’ve enjoyed your company even though circumstances have often meant that I haven’t been able to reciprocate. I’m intending to do better this year.
A Happy New Year to you ALL
I had a phone call today, completely out of the blue. My aunt has died.
Although I was very fond of her it was a difficult relationship. She was married to my maternal uncle, whom I love and see often, but they were divorced almost 60 years ago and she disappeared from our lives. It was many years later that my parents managed to contact her again, so from time to time I visited, but, as she lived over 300 miles away, mostly kept in touch via letters and the odd phone call. I last spoke to her after her 90th birthday in August. Last week I posted her Christmas card, and I was going to phone her this evening. Sadly her brother phoned at lunchtime to say that she had had a stroke and quietly slipped away.
I would like to be able to tell my mother, sadly it won’t mean anything. She won’t remember the happy times we all spent together nor will she remember her name. To be honest, she may not even remember that I have visited, but visit I will. I’ve left a message on my brother’s phone, and no doubt he will ring me at some point, but as he is younger than me his memories will be vastly different and he will feel much further removed from the event than I do.
Now, the object of this post is not to ask for sympathy, but it does bring bereavement nicely into the Christmas picture. This morning, while I was out walking, I met a friend – actually the mother of an old school friend of our son. She is the same age as me, but unlike me has no grandchildren in spite of having two sons. The younger (our son’s friend) is married but so far childless, his brother, however, died in 5 years ago in December in horrendous circumstances. As you can imagine he is uppermost in her thoughts at the moment, and, although she misses him every day, her sense of loss at this time of year is enormous. She hides away because she knows that others don’t want to see her distress because they no longer know what to say.
Grief takes a long time to work its way through. Sometimes it never goes. It’s easy to talk to someone about their loss immediately after it has happened, and then to move on – after all, life is for the living, isn’t it?
Please make a point of making Christmas just a little more bearable for someone this year. Instead of passing on the other side of the road – or scurrying past – or just ignoring them – take some time to visit and talk about a lost one. Husbands missing wives, wives missing husbands, parents missing children, children missing parents.
Probably not the post you were expecting from me today, but please remember that memories aren’t just for Christmas. Spread a little happiness – it lasts much longer than Santa.
There are times when 3 minutes and 12 seconds seem to take an hour and a half ;)
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Lieut.-Col. John McCrae
… is my virtual 5km. To prepare I’m having a rest day :)
So, here’s a video to entertain. Some of you may know the words. Why not sing along :lol:
There is one plant that always reminds me of my grandparents garden.
I spent so many happy hours with them.
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