Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy December 6th!

Book me a room at the home, Mabel, I'm coming in.

I have no brain left. I've said that before, but I was lying then because obviously I had a little bitty bit of brain left. Now? No brain.

The sixth anniversary of my father's death was approaching. Now, as any of you who have lost a parent knows, this is a tricky bit of business. You want to call the living parent and offer moral support and comfort on a yucky day. But what do you say? "Happy anniversary of Dad's Death?" There's no Hallmark card for that.

The other thing is, I can never remember the actual date of Dad's death. After much brain prodding and memorizing, I can now remember he died in December 2006. But did he die on the 6th? Or the 9th?

"When did my dad die?" I ask my husband – every single year.

"You ask me this every single year," he replies, every single year.

"I know, I'm an idiot. But please tell me. I'll remember this time."

Dave sighs ... every single year he sighs just like that ... and tells me he died December 6th.

Yay! Thanks Dave! I burn Dec. 6 into my beleaguered brain and swear to the great gods of merciful memory that I WILL REMEMBER next year.

When Dec. 6 rolled around I phoned my Mom, who sounded perky.

"How are you doing?" I asked in a sombre, I-am-worried-about-you tone.

"Pretty good," she said. "My leg is really bothering me but other than that I'm fine. How are you?"

"Oh good," I said, brushing off her question. "But really, Mom, how ARE you?"

There was a pause, then she said, "I'm fine, Cathy. Why? What's up?"

I got all awkward and didn't know what to say so I mumbled, "Well, it's, um, Dec. 6 and I thought I should see how you are."

There was an even longer pause, then Mom started laughing. "He died Dec. 9! Not Dec. 6. You do this EVERY SINGLE YEAR!"

Then it was OK. We laughed like looney tunes. The awkwardness of not knowing how to mark a terrible anniversary dissipated.

"I'll phone you on Dec. 9," I said, just before I hung up.

"Oh, you don't have to do that," Mom said. "It's fine."

But I did. I called her last night and, as soon as she answered the phone I said, "It's Dec. 9," and she laughed, real unabashed laughter, all over again.

I think I might have to do this again next year – in fact, every single year from now on. Because if it can make my mother laugh on one of the saddest days on the calendar, well, there's no need for a card from Hallmark, is there?

***

Speaking of brain-dead, I had forgotten that today was a special day for everyone's favourite Ninja blogger, Alex Cavanaugh. If you'd like to drop by his blog and wish him well and thank him for being such a bright spot in the universe, do so here.

Alex is one of the most popular and generous bloggers I've ever come across and it's absolutely no wonder that everyone loves him so much.

On this special day I would love to say that the world is a better place because of you, dear, sweet Alex. I wish you nothing but all the very best, on this day and all the ones to come.

(Is there a Hallmark card for Alex's Special Day?)


34 comments:

  1. It's hard to know what to do with these events isn't it? Laughing sounds like a good idea.

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    1. Me too... but if we could come up with a greeting card idea we'd be RICH!

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  2. If you have a wall calendar that you write appointments and birthdays on, you could always put it on that. It's hard for me to forget the date my dad died, 6/23, b/c it was one day after their 56th anniversary. Next year will be 10 years. :(

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    1. Awwww.. (hugs)

      The thing is, I DO have a wall calendar... several of them in fact... but usually forget to write important dates on it... wait a minute... I'm off RIGHT NOW to write Dec. 6, er, 9 on the goldurned thing. Thanks JoJo!

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  3. Cathy my dear you are not alone in the idle memory department. My Crabby Cabbie is lucky if I even remember the day of our anniversary, never mind when my father passed 30 years ago. I am pretty sure it was the same day Terry Fox died on the 28th of June, 1981. If the day is wrong, maybe it was the 21st, I definitely know the year was right as it was right before I got my driver's license and when my youngest son, Paul was born in 1983. Those were times I really really wanted my Dad with me. I still think of him almost every week. Laughter is the best medicine, is it not? xx

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    1. The folks at my work call it O.L.D. Disease. It seems to be going around. And yes, laughter IS the best medicine. For everything. ox

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  4. We bake them cakes for their birthdays. My dad was 105 this year. Mom was only 94. And my brother was 64. Since his birthday is the day after mine, sometimes he has to share. We wonder if he would be bald and have a paunch. So, laughter or cakes, it's celebrating a good life passed.

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    1. I do believe my Mom bakes my Dad cakes on his birthdays. And what a grand idea, when you think about it, marking a happy occasion rather than a sombre one. Perhaps it's a good idea to forget about the anniversary of one's death and instead eat cake on a happy one. ox

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    2. And what's up with your Dad after younger women???? ;)

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  5. It's nice you have fond memories to remember him by. That's something not everybody has.

    Alex is the rock star ninja of the blogosphere!

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    1. And you, dear Laura, are the Queen. Can hardly wait till tomorrow!

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  6. I'm so glad you're finding laughter amidst the sadness. Sometimes that's the only way I can handle the sadness. Sending love to you on this day and always!!

    P.S. Happy birthday Ninja Alex!!! :)

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    1. Aww thanks Lisa. My Dad was a sweetie and I'll always a miss him but he enjoyed a good laugh just as much as I do and I'm pretty sure he'd be laughing (and kicking my arse) for forgetting everything.

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  7. As far as dates go, I remember my kids birth dates (and my wife's), pretty much because I -have- to, but that's about it. I just can't hold that stuff in my head.

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    1. And you're YOUNG...
      I just came up with a theery.. we're all riters, wright? Maybee we can hold letttters in our brains beter thenne nomberes.. Whot do u tink?

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  8. That' great that you both laughed about it. That probably did more for her than anything else.
    Thanks for the kind words and support, Cathy! Not sure if they make Ninja cards...

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    1. Well if they don't, they oughta. Hope you're having an awesome day!

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  9. I love that you were able to make her laugh. I never know what to do in these situations either. My sister lost her husband this year, and I always wish I had better words. I'm a writer. You'd think I could come up with something comforting and wise, but no. I generally just try to make her laugh. I guess laughter really is the best medicine, right? :)

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    1. Oooh, it's a tougher go when the death is so recent and the pain is so fresh. There really are no words to help your sister at this point. Only words like "love" and lots of hugs and offers to listen when she needs to talk... that, and time, which is the true healer of all wounds. All the best to you in finding the right words.

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  10. Pleased to make your acquaintance. It's stories like your that gives me something to think about, and now I'm motivated. Cheers! :)

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    1. Pleased to meet you, too, David! Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the follow. And I'm so glad to hear you're motivated! Will drop by your blog for a visit as soon as I can.

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    2. *wondering a little bit what you're motivated to do.....*

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  11. That's a sweet post, full of caring and laughter - it's good that you could make your mum laugh and together you can remember all the brilliant things about your dad.

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    1. Aww, thanks Helen. That's equally sweet of you to say.

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  12. So funny. My father died three years ago this past December 4. My mother and I both thought he died on 12/6 or 12/9 (I was closer). Our minds play such funny tricks on us, blocking out painful days for us.

    This post brought such a smile to my face. It's nice to be able to smile about those miss, remember the good times, have the bad ones blur and get fuzzy. Hugs to you, and mum. Peace...

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    1. That is SO weird that you have the same dates in December in mind! And wow, I can't believe three years have come and gone so quickly. Maybe you're right; maybe it is the mind blocking out that pain.

      And I'm very glad you found a smile!!! Hugs right back atcha.

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  13. I love the way you and your mother handle it. Laughter makes all the difference in the world.

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    1. Thanks so much, Susan. My mom is one of the funniest people I know. Last week she added her fingernail to the Christmas pudding when she was shredding ingredients. She didn't realize she had done it until the pudding was done, so she looked high and low all over the kitchen looking for the missing fingernail. Thinking about her doing that cracks me up.

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  14. yeah, I'm the same way with my kids' birthdays. Got all the months right, and I'm usually within a week on the days. But specifics...? Well, that's why the good Lord gave us smart phones.

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    1. HA! And wouldn't we all be even smarter if we knew how to work those stupid smart phones? I could write an entire book on the absurdity of me fumbling around with that itty bitty thing with my big fat fingers. Lawd, it's a challenge!

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  15. There are no words to make a death or the anniversary of one better. Laughter is soooo much better than the words which stick in our throats. Perhaps you could keep her on her toes by ringing her first on December 5th next year, then the 7th and then the ninth. By then she could start to laugh as soon as she recognises your voice. And yes, love it the only think you can offer. Love and laughter go together sooooo well. Off to my Hallmark corner of the universe now.

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    1. Ha! Great idea, EC! That certainly would keep her on her toes!!!! ox

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  16. I have a problem remembering the dates of deaths as well. I can't recall exact dates for the passing of my brothers, my grandparents, nephews...

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  17. My mom died December 5th but years ago. For us December 6th is St. Nikolaus Day, an event celebrated by kids in some European countries. It's the original St. Nick before it all switched over to Santa Claus.

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