What a difference a year makes. This week in May has always been a bit full on. This one week holds host to three of the most most important birthday’s in my family – my mum, one of my daughters and my husband.
Last year it was my mum’s 80th and we celebrated with a garden party.
Last year my daughter turned 7 and we celebrated with a Frozen party.
Last year my husband was still my husband, and we celebrated as a family.
What a difference a year makes.
Last year, I hung bunting and made macaroons in three different colours. I dressed my mum in her fabulous turquoise outfit (the one she bought for a party one time; the one she wore for the professional family photos we had taken before her stroke that now hang on my wall to remind me of how gorgeous she had once looked; the one that I now think she will be dressed in after she dies. .. is that weird? I just want her to look nice. Look fabulous. I know the last act I will do for my mum is apply her lipstick before the lid is secured.)
So, I dressed her in her fabulous turquoise outfit and I applied her lipstick and she looked amazing. All her friends came and we sat around in the sunshine and celebrated 80 years of being loved my her. We put photos of her up around the kitchen, from all the times of her life, and we took family photos with her still in this time of her life.
But that life is diminishing. Over the last year she has deteriorated. For her birthday this year I got the train up to Belfast but there was no bunting, or macaroons. I don’t even think I took a photo. I took her out for lunch with her friends but she slept in the wheelchair while we talked. I took her out to lunch the next day with dad and we got her a hot fudge Sundae but her face stared into the distance until it melted into an Olaf puddle.
She used to stare into space reminiscing about her life. Now I think she stares into space, searching for the place where she can close her eyes for good. She no longer wants to live. She is tired of living, and we are tired of watching her suffer. She is in pain. She is is despair. She is in limbo.
Last year we celebrated my mum’s life. But this year we know that we have to let that life go.
Last year, my little 7 year old celebrated her birthday with all thing’s Frozen. I hung bunting and made an Olaf cake. She dressed as Ana, and a multitude of Ana’a and Elsa’s friends arrived and squealed with childish delight. Poppy was a blaze of beauty and I will never forget her face when she tapped the balloon with the Magician’s wand and it turned into a real fluffy rabbit in front of our eyes, her face alight with childish wonder.
She danced and squealed surrounded by friends and spun in a spin of happiness, her life perfect in every way. She got childish toys for her presents, including an Ana doll.
This year she didn’t want a theme. Certainly not Frozen. That’s all too babyish. This year she dressed in a pretty dress but she applied lipgloss (her nanna’s granddaughter!) and they danced to Taylor Swift that was less spinning and more hip shaking…. little women. She got no dolls this year, but an ipod touch.
Last year I celebrated my daughter’s childhood. But this year I know that I am slowly letting that go.
Last year my husband turned 45.I made him a cake and bought him presents. I hung bunting and balloons and we had a family day.
This year, there is no longer a family. He has taken them off for a birthday lunch and movie while I take down the bunting from Poppy’s birthday. It is not needed for him any more in this house. He has his own home now for bunting to hang. One that is for him and my girls, but not for me.
Last year I celebrated my husband’s birthday. But this year I have to learn to let him go.
As the memories of “Let it Go” still echo around this house (so many times was it played) the movie is long gone but the sentiments sing along in my head still.
What a difference a year makes. I look back on what I had last year, but I know I must let it all go..
Beautifully written. Sometimes it’s better to “let it go” then to hold it back. If we realize that nothing in life is forever then we learn to cherish the moments that we live in now.
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Aww. How life changes in often such an unpredictable fashion. Beautifully written as always and with such elements of sadness to your writing. Just one thing – there is still a family. It’s just a slightly different one to what you had before. And it will all be ok. (That’s two things!).
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Thanks Rosie…. and I know you are right…. and in many ways I love my new little family… it’s just not great for them right now. But I know in time it will be….. xx