Thursday, December 7, 2023

Finality

Dear Mum.

We drove to Phillip Island in torrential rain, with rain spray from the road making it so difficult to drive. As usual R criticised my driving after following a car for a few kilometres, I changed lanes to overtake a car. Here we go, said R. Always changing lanes. I don't, only when another driver is travelling well below the speed limit. I just ignored him. He needs to be careful. Ostensibly because of my arthritis, a couple of years ago I stopped driving aside from driving on motorways. R drives in our local area when we go out. Sometimes I think it would be better for if I drove with R yelling at me than him driving. His style of driving while safe, is horrible. 

Sorry for the ramble Ma, but then you were known to ramble on endlessly, both verbally and in writing. Only in you later years did I have a problem reading some of your writing. The youngies don't seem to be able to read old style handwriting at all. Thankfully I haven't acquired the rambling habit and my writing is concise and to the point. No? 

Not quite the whole family were there to meet at the Returned Servicemen's League venue, but no matter. We had an ok dinner there in Cowes, Phillip Island. The kiddies had fun in the play room and we had bought a birthday cake and sang happy birthday to ABI Brother, your second son, as he turned 64 on the Saturday. 

It was about four years ago when we took you to Phillip Island and we stayed in what was the old council caravan park in a cabin. We could not get accommodation there so we chose Anchor Belle a bit further along Church Street. It was fine. I can politely tell you that we concluded we would never take you away again. You were so difficult and R and I ended up arguing. I could only shrug my shoulders and say 'What can I do? She is my mother'. I did that frequently and often.

I think Cowes, Phillip Island has a sister town connection to Cowes on the Isle of Wight. 

I went to the German School in Brunswick to buy Jo an Advent calendar and forgot to bring it to give it to her. I said a very bad word to myself as R answered my phone and Sister asked if I had bought her one. It was an emergency search to buy another and we found a Lindt Chocolate one heavily discounted in a supermarket. Fortunately Advent calendars are timeless, so I can use the one I bought earlier this year, next year.

Once we checked in we waited for ABI Brother to arrive. He didn't. As a birthday gift we paid a few dollars for his Saturday night accommodation in our cabin. I called him but as he was driving he didn't answer. He stopped a bit later and called me. I told him he was late and to meet us at the RSL, which he did. He couldn't drink much as he would have to drive from the RSL to the accommodation. He made up for it once we back at our digs. 

Sunday morning dawned fine and sunny after the 14mm of rain on the island the day before.  

We used to see galahs at home but we haven't for some time. 


All RSLs must have a weapon of war near the frontage of its clubs.


This Santa mail box was nice in the main street of Cowes. Sunday morning we sat at a table outside and had a nice brunch at Gulliver's. Cheapskate ABI Brother ate his home made salad roll but did buy coffee. 


We had a little time the day before to check out the practicalities of spreading your and your partner's ashes. He died about fourteen years ago. I am in trouble for not inviting his family, except I did and the message wasn't passed on.

From about my age of ten to twenty, this was the holiday house you rented, close to Rose Avenue beach. It was larger than it looks and it would be impossible to say how many family and friends stayed there. It was basic but adequate accommodation. I am surprised it looks exactly as it used to in the 1970s to 1980s. 


Rose Avenue beach. I do like a nice groyne or several. The tide was high.




But when it came to spreading ashes, the tide was way out. Sister was very fragile and it would be a poignant photo as she wandered alone on the sand bar, if she wasn't looking down at her phone screen. 


The ashes had been mixed and transferred to crystal vases. In addition to the mementos here, there was a banana (take a banana in case you get hungry) and a handkerchief (have you got a hanky).


Mother was very fond of talcum powder. In the bathroom of her home for decades a set scales sat, covered in talcum powder. Nice work by Tradie Brother.


Bone Doctor's feet. 


As well as ashes being spread in the water, so were some flowers.


Present on the day were your four children, your four grandchildren, your eight great grand children and four of their partners. Mum, I really wish you could have been there and felt the love. This lamp that burns night and day at the end of our cabin is for you, an eternal flame if you like.


Enough about you Mother. Back to practicalities, the symbols on the cabin toilet cistern were hard to see. I couldn't understand which button was half flush and which was full flush. Once I looked at the photo, it is obvious that the three waves are full flush and the single wave a half flush. That would be right, wouldn't it?

33 comments:

  1. Hugs. I do love the talcum powder covered scales.

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    1. EC, all very well for her bathroom to be covered in talc, not so ours. Thanks.

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  2. That is a lovely letter. Talcum powder is used for pleurodesis in thoracic surgery.

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    1. Roentare, that sounds like lung and upper chest surgery. Quite strange really.

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  3. Stalker
    Andrew, No words♥️🙏

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  4. My emotions are mixed but I mostly laughed, especially about driving and your cheapskate ABI Brother. By the way, I think the coffee was probably expensive enough. ~nods~ And your first label leaves me stunned; you are amazing. Thanks for sharing and be well, Andrew.

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    1. Thanks Darla. It is only recently here that people pass on or have passed on. They used to die and were then dead. I don't see the need to couch the word dead in any way, as that is what they are. I don't want to offend people but nor do I want be dishonest to myself.

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  5. Lovely letter to your mum. The most important guest is always absent on these occasions.

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  6. Oh, my comment has disappeared. Never mind. I just wanted to say that it sounded like a very personal and touching farewell.

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    1. It didn't go to spam JayCee, so I don't know what happened. It was nice and not such a sad occasion. How can there be much sadness with so many lively children around.

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  7. My comment disappeared too.
    This is a sweet post, Andrew.

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  8. This ranks as one of the best posts you have written.
    What a wonderful way of saying goodbye.
    She was a handful but she was loved.

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    1. Your last line sums her up, Merlot. Thanks.

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  9. Oh Andrew. You capture the ups and downs of families so well that I had a lump in MY throat. Hugs to you.

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    1. Debby, perhaps that is the advantage of an anonymous blog. I can be honest, although not as honest as I used to be in earlier days. Thank you.

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  10. Is it true that all RSLs must have a weapon of war near its club's front? The tank in Phillip Island is a bit scary.

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    1. I don't think so Hels. The St Kilda RSL in Acland Street doesn't. But where there is space, RSLs do like to remind us of the horrors of war, just in case we forget, ha bloody ha.

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  11. However difficult mum is always mum. A great send off with so many personal touches.

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    1. Marie, sadly the subsequent interaction with my step father's clouded things a bit, but no matter. I never knew them well. It was a great send off, as she knew it would be.

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  12. A lovely post Andrew, though sad. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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    1. Margaret, it was both sad and nice. Thank you.

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  13. A very nice letter to your Mum and a good send off. I wonder how much longer that little house will stay exactly as it is.

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    1. River, I don't know that we will visit the island very often now. I suppose every so often I can check with Street View. Thank you.

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  14. I really liked your description of the dispersion of your Mum's ashes and that you even added the ashes of her partner, made me think how different it was with Rick, only myself, the son and grandson and it was on a large meadow behind the crematorium. Also way of driving of both of you reminded me of Rick and myself ! He had always something to criticize and I was ready to throw him out of the car ! You are a better boy !

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    1. Gattina, thank you. I don't think couple ever get along when both of them are drivers.

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  15. That is so beautiful to read, Andrew. Its beautiful the send off you all gave her.

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  16. Incredibly moved by this Andrew, warts 'n all you loved her and it shines right through this tribute.
    XO
    WWW

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