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.