Happy-ish Mother's Day

Pardon me while I have the Mother's Day Blues. I'll get over it when I go pick up my kids. Right now, though, I'm having a moment.

Three out of four mothers depicted in the photo on the left are gone. The fourth is me, holding my little sister.

Nana, on the right, died at the ripe old age of almost 92. She was old all my life - at least from my perspective. When my sister and I had tea with her, on Thursday afternoons after she came home from work, she wouldn't have been much older than I am now. I'm not old, therefore she can't have been. Right?

I have many happy memories of those teas with Nana and breakfasts on Saturday mornings. The teas were special though. Thursday was payday. On her way home, Nana would stop at the bakery and pick up Petit Fours or Queen Ann's tarts.

Grandma Bruce made excellent date squares but was hampered, in my childhood memories, with being Jehovah's Witness. She died long before I understood what that meant. Still, I remember watching her cook. (Nana and Grandma lived in apartments in our house for my early childhood.)

My mum is on left in the photo. I watched her cook too. I also got hands-on experience in the kitchen from an early age. Mum was a great story teller and wanted to be a writer. I still have a short piece she wrote for class called "Madam Your Tranquilizer is Showing". Someday I'll pull it out and share it with you. It's a hoot!

Mum was diagnosed with aggressive small-cell lung cancer in January of 1999, and died on my sister's birthday the same year (November 6). In addition to being sad, my sister was really pissed off about that.

Within weeks of my mother's diagnosis, my sister Joanne (the baby of the family) found out she had breast cancer. She had surgery almost immediately, but it was almost six months before they scheduled the follow-up chemotherapy. She died, way too young, in 2003, at age 42.

Joanne was my little sister, but she took the lead in most things. She was a mother before me. I remember driving to Hull to see my first niece. I was alone in the car and had stocked up on healthy snacks that I could nibble on while driving so I wouldn't have to stop other than for gas, coffee and the inevitable trip to the loo. I had a baby book addressed to Maude for a gift. When I got there, I found out they changed their minds and call the baby Sophie.

Claire was born in Toronto. They hadn't left the birthing room when I arrived from Guelph. No pit-stops that afternoon.

Two years later, my niece Sophie, and her little sister Claire, got to hold their new born cousin, Kate. Three and a half years later, Sam was born - the exact same difference in time as between Joanne and I, and Sophie and Claire. Weird, huh? It's not like we planned it.

I miss Nana and Grandma, my Mum and especially Joanne. I also miss my Aunty Yang and Aunt Ruth. But later today I'll have Sophie and Claire and Kate and Sam with me. I'll have a happy Mother's Day. Hope you do too.


  1. A great tribute, Alison! My mom passed away 21 years ago from cancer at he age of 56 and my MIL and I get along ok. We took her some plants last night. So I heap the Mothers Day wishes on my daughters, daughter in law, and friends. Happy Mothers Day to you!

  2. What a beautiful family! It's good to have a special day to remember them all and to feel sad for a little bit. But, as you say, you have some young ones to spend time with today. I guess it's the circle of life. Happy Mother's Day.

    1. I don't mind feelings the blues now and then for the sake of family and friends gone by. For every moment of sadness, there are many more happy memories.

  3. Wonderful post, Alison! Thank you for sharing your fond memories, and your sad ones. I, too, lost my mother to cancer. Although it's been many years since she passed, I still miss her. I share your mixed feelings today.

    1. That's it, isn't it. Happy memories but you still miss your mum, no matter how much time goes by.

  4. What touching memories, Alison. I had a wonderful mother's day, my family took good care of me which was lovely.

    My mom is ravaged by dementia, a terrible disease. In my mind (and hers) she is long gone although her body lives on, sadly.

    Getting old is not for sissys!

    1. You are so right about that.

      My father suffered from dementia after his second series of strokes. He couldn't remember that Mum and my sister were gone and was upset that they weren't visiting him in hospital. At other times, he thought he was still in the Navy and the hospital was a ship.

      He recovered in time. I can't imagine what it must be like for you. The only thing to do, I suppose, is hold on to the happy memories and make more with your kids. Sound like you've got that covered.


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