The first birthday without her beloved husband. Yet another milestone to endure; one more hurdle to be leapt as part of the lady’s grieving process. After 57 years marriage, prior to being widowed in October 2017, my mother’s anniversary of birth today will no doubt present her with a very different experience than normal.
For the first time in six decades there’ll be no card from the hubby – A greeting penned in his immaculate printed handwriting. Within it, a self-conscious message from the old man in which he sought to strongly express his love for her, without overdoing the romantic wording he’d never felt comfortable using.
Last year, he was one month from passing when Maggie celebrated her 77th birthday. Despite being in a moribund state, Malcolm still managed to neatly jot down the feelings he bore for his much loved spouse. His poor health three weeks later, though, meant I had to write the old man’s 57th wedding anniversary card on his behalf.
I’d like to think I’ve got reasonably neat writing. However, the words I wrote on the anniversary card for my old man led an unsuspecting Maggie to comment “I know you’re dad’s poorly, bless him, but I can’t believe how much his handwriting’s declined in such a short period of time!”
Despite mater’s criticism of the calligraphy she’d not realised was mine, I was comfortable in the knowledge my printed words were a damn sight tidier than the card message she’d written to Malcolm. Maggie’s handwriting so fractured that it’s as though it was penned mid-sneezing fit!
It’s been a tough year or two for the old lady. Her small steps in spiritual recovery, mirroring the diminishing steps she now takes when walking. With confidence rocked, there are occasions she moves in hardly more than a shuffle. During the last year, despite the best of intentions, her body language advertising a previously unseen vulnerability.
There are encouraging signs, though, that she is eventually coming to terms with the massive life change of my dad’s passing. Like the rest of the brood, the feeling of sadness at this loss will never abate, however there’s been recent indications of re-adjusting to her circumstances.
Hopefully, the family and her friends can carry on helping to rebuild her shattered confidence. A recuperation she’s capable of, but at times seem unable to grasp.
My wife Karen and I have just returned from taking Maggie for a birthday lunch at a local bar/restaurant. This surprise meal (or it would have been if we hadn’t told her about it a fortnight ago!) the brain child of Karen and her friend who owns the eatery.
On our drive home, commenting from her usual baseline of positivity, the old lady judged every element of lunch to be lovely. This from her tasty gastro-pub fish goujon sandwich to the excellent service we received from restaurant staff.
In fact, the only negative to pass her lips was her comment on the way home, opining the handwriting of our waitress was “.. worse than your dad’s in last years wedding anniversary card!”
Even though she’ll likely not read this because of artistic differences, I still didn’t want to miss the opportunity of wishing this selfless, funny, caring and loving lady a great day…… Happy birthday mum!
2 kids who've flown the nest, 1 wife whose flown with Jet2. Born at a young age in 1960's Leeds, the author became interested in the literary life when his wife bought him a dog. Having an allergy to dogs, he swapped it for a typewriter. Being unable to train the typewriter to retrieve tennis balls, he reluctantly turned to writing...... Website - www.writesaidfred.org