Back home again with wonderful memories

On Wednesday morning we arrived back in Florida, thirty-six hours after hugging my sister one last time. What a very special time we had together.

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Thank you so much to all of you who have left caring and loving messages of support here. This is such a wonderful community, and I appreciate every single one of you. I believe it’s so important to thank people, and when we as a family went to the care home where mom had been so well looked after for the past eighteen months, to take a ‘Thank You’ cake and some delicious eats for the dedicated ladies who work there, we were quite taken aback to be told that we were the first family to ever go back and show gratitude for the work they do. It was so very moving to receive their hugs of condolence and to realise how much they had also grown to love our mom during the time they’d known her.

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What a beautiful, sparkling day we were blessed with for mom’s memorial service.

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It was held in the foyer of the church she once attended, and was very informal with everyone seated around tables covered with colourful cloths. It was wonderful to see so many of her friends gathered to honour her memory, and one elderly couple had driven all the way from Johannesburg to be there. Two of the church elders who had known mom and dad for many years, shared their thoughts, and hubby read tributes from the grandchildren overseas. My sister’s husband gave the eulogy and of course I also shared some of my most special memories of my mom, which prompted many smiles as well as a few tears. Afterwards we had tea and refreshments and chatted for a long time before people eventually started to disperse. It was a really uplifting time, and so comforting to receive such heartfelt condolences from people who really cared, and had loved her so much. It was a time of celebration of mom’s life rather than a time of mourning, which is exactly what she would have wished for.

My sister and I had a wonderful few days together, and of course we spoke about our mom constantly; over delicious meals and even whilst out shopping, especially when we saw any items of clothing in her favourite shades of purple or mauve. Last Sunday we took mom’s ashes, and with our husbands holding tightly onto us, scattered them from a beautiful viewpoint high up in the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve.

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My sister had the idea that mom would want us to choose this place, as one of her biggest challenges after dad died ten years ago, was starting to drive again at the age of eighty. The route she used to take through Kloof Gorge to and from my sister’s house, was along very steep, narrow and winding roads, but she gamely managed it in her little white Hyundai Getz, until about three years ago when we decided that for her own safety and that of other road users, she should rather allow one of us to chauffeur her.

I brought back with me a pile of old photos which we found in a box in mom’s cupboard, and before retiring to my beckoning bed on Wednesday evening, I looked through them all, remembering family and friends from long ago. My absolute favourite has to be this one taken on an Amsterdam street in 1966. I’d never seen it before, but for me it  just empitomises the amazing  woman mom was; vibrant, happy, gentle, always a lady, a natural beauty, and so full of fun. This is how I will always remember her.

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It’s good to be back here, and I will endeavour to catch up with you all over the weekend. Have a really good one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s my Birthday and I’ll Blog if I want to.

“No woman should ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Hands up if you remember this song sung by Lesley Gore in 1963. Well, if you danced to this as a teenager, then you’re probably about the same age as me.

I was going to take my special day off, but changed my mind. After all, what’s a day without just a little bit of blogging? Yesterday, my darling sister prepared a very special birthday lunch for me, and invited a few friends to help me celebrate. When we arrived, the table was all set and looked really festive. (I’ve just noticed, looking at the pics, that the table mats, cake decorations and the top I was wearing, all happen to match. How’s that for co-ordination?)

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She had made delicious prawn cocktail starter, followed by a classic Beef Stroganoff with rice and delicious roasted vegetables. Dessert was Crème Brûlée, which was absolutely sublime, and then came the crowning glory; her gorgeously decadent Cleopatra Chocolate Birthday Cake. You have to taste this to believe it. The topping is pure, undiluted, melted chocolate.

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It had only one candle, which wasn’t too difficult to blow out, except that the people taking photographs kept making me laugh, so it took a while.

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The conversation around the table was both lively, and at times, totally hilarious, and we all had so much fun. Today is my actual birthday, and we’re going to have ‘High Tea’ again at The Oyster Box Hotel. My sister will be joining us too. I’m so excited with my birthday present from hubby, which is three of her Gustav Klimt style paintings, some of which which I showed you the other day for Ailsa’a Travel Theme. They will be lovingly packed up with the rest of our furniture and have pride of place in our house in Florida. He also bought me some potent-sounding anti-aging cream, which I’m hoping is a miracle in a jar. I have lots of other lovely pressies, including from my daughter, a night for two in an ocean terrace room at the gorgeous ‘Oyster Box Hotel’, a spa manicure and pedicure from my son, and various edible and inedible treats from friends. Last night I had a long Skype conversation with the family in New Jersey, who all sang “Happy Birthday to Granny.” So very special.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me if I disappear for a while to make the most of my special day. This coming weekend, we move out of our home and into the one we’re renting for the month of August, so I may not be around quite as much as usual for the next few days, but I’m sure I’ll find time to do a couple of posts in between all the packing. Have a great week.