Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Mum and Dad

Today is the anniversary of my parents' deaths. They went on the same day, five years apart, in 1992 and 1997. Although my parents split up in 1972, I firmly believe it was no coincidence my mother passed on the same day as Dad, five years after him. I'm an only child, so without them around my family sometimes feels really small and I still miss them, but the anniversary is easier to deal with after the passage of so much time. Every year, I make a donation somewhere in their memories. This year it was the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry branch of the Ontario SPCA (Cornwall), where our tripod-kitty Alex came from! Both of my parents were animal lovers so it's no surprise that I am too.

I was more of a girlie-girl at age three than I've ever been as an adult! Note my fingernail polish. My Mum was an accomplished dressmaker and used to make all my clothes. She made my wedding dress, too.

This was taken on a trip back to the homeland (for my parents; I was born in Canada): England. And I've always loved the sea.

My Dad was very proud when I graduated from the University of Toronto back in the late 80s with my Bachelor of Music. I was the first one of the family in Canada to get a university degree (my parents came to this country in 1958, then several of my Dad's siblings followed over the years from England.) My parents were plenty smart and well-read but neither of them got far in school. My mother wanted to go to university to be a veterinarian, but her father would only pay for her brother's schooling. It was just after WWII and girls were still expected to get married and look after the family!

So on this anniversary, I'm focusing on happy memories, and I raise a cup of tea to my parents, Jim and Phyllis, who both left this planet too soon.

PS: If your parents are still around, and you love them, make sure you tell them so. And give them a couple of big hugs!


  1. I know how you feel Natalie. My mum died in 1997 and Dad in 2000. My sister said, "How could they leave us? Now we're orphans!" She also said that when you lose your mom, you lose your biggest fan.
    Nice post, btw.

  2. Anonymous4:17 pm

    Lovely post, Nat. In that top photo your mother is stunning!

    My mother also wanted to go to college but her parents said she'd just get married and "waste it." She died when I was 15. So the day I graduated from college, her youngest child of three girls, my father said "I made your mother a promise and now you've graduated." I can't imagine how proud your mum was when you graduated. Phyllis

  3. My mother always was the beauty in the family! And very stylish, too. She was 33 or 34 when that photo was taken.

    I bet your Mom, wherever her spirit might reside, was pretty proud when you graduated, Phyllis! I'm so glad no one told me I couldn't go to university because I'd "waste it." Augh!

    Ronna, it just sucks, doesn't it?

  4. Knatty, that's just so sweet.

    Sometimes I wake up with a thought in my mouth to tell my father but then I realise he isn't here any more. I fear, fear fear what's going to happen when my mother goes.

    It's going to be like being at sea with no more oars. Like, quick, Plan B, which you're going to have to hastily make up because there IS no Plan B.

    But we're all at the age where losses just seem to accumulate. Let's treasure the assets, the children. That's what is going to keep me going.

  5. Dear Knatolee,

    I remember you mum. She was very fine there in Moffat. My only regret is that I would have liked to have met her sooner. Although they passed in body, their spirit lives on with you, and in such a vivid way with your photos and stories.


  6. Your mum looks stunning! I can't imagine how I'd feel one day when the inevitable happens... Thanks for the reminder...will love them to bits while I have the chance...

  7. Your mom was a beautiful woman! And you were so cute!

  8. Thanks for the lovely post, Natalie. There is no replacement for a parent. Although my Mum died just two and a half years ago, I lost her long earlier to Alzheimer's Disease. She was lucky to have received an education, and had both a career and family. It just ended too soon. At least I still have my Dad, who is still going strong and I love him to bits.

  9. That photo of you and your Mom is classic, like a promo ad for love. You and your Dad both look so proud and happy. And you are representing them in all the great things you do!

  10. Chef Nick, it's no fun when both the parents are gone, but it gets easier as time goes by. Alas, as I have no kids I must treasure my chickens instead. ;)

    Brian, I'm glad you met my Mum. As times passes and I make new friends (and we have moved so much!) there are fewer people around who knew here, and even fewer who knew my Dad!

    Surani, I hope that you won't have to deal with losing your parents for many decades yet. Don't worry about the future, just enjoy them now. They must love spending time with their two lovely granddaughters.

    And thanks, Monika!

    Shona, I am sorry you lost your Mom... I think Alzheimers must be a terribly difficult disease to deal with. I'm glad you still have your Dad and are enjoying his company and visits.

    And thanks to you too, Fran. :)

  11. I feel very fortunate that my pareents are still with us(dad 83, mum 81). They won't be around for long so I cherish the time I have with them

  12. I hope your parents will be around for a long time yet, Jams! My in-laws are about to hit 80 and 82 and fortunately are in relatively good health.

  13. that was a really touching post! cheers to you and the memory of your folks =)

  14. There's a photo of my mom from when she's around 18 years old and she looks startlingly like Kim Hunter.

    I love that picture.

  15. What a sweet post, Nat! They sound like wonderful folks and I am so sorry you lost them so soon. Sending you a big hug!

  16. Anonymous12:12 pm

    I love love LOVE that first picture. It's like someone said here "an advertisement for love".

    All the pictures were great. I'm still amazed how much you look like your mom. :) .. your dad was very nice looking too .. love the grad picture. happy days.

    Sometimes i get a feeling in my stomach .. well in that middle area that makes me feel lonely and sad and it makes me think of my mother when i was very young. it is not exactly a conscious feeling ... it's similar to the way a scent will evoke feelings/thoughts.

    and we are never too old to seek / need approval from our parents. (and from others for that matter). I'm happy that my dad got things a bit confused and died thinking that i had achieved the PhD ... it was fulfilled just a few years later :)

    it's interesting being human, isn't it? ;)

  17. Natalie, this was a beautiful post. Those were wonderful photos, all of them. It's neat seeing your parents when they were so young as well, as I just have this image of them when we were teenagers. They did leave way, way too young.

    They did share something special didn't they, in you. I know they are both so very, very proud of you.

  18. Jim, isn't it neat seeing pics of our parents when they were really young? To think they had lives before us!

    PP, thanks, and Angela, thanks for the hug.

    Dr. Sloth, I'm glad your Dad knew about the PhD, even if he was a bit confused. My aunt just saw the kids' book I illustrated and told me my parents would have been really proud of me. I wish they could have seen it!

    And Karen, it's so nice when I hear from someone who actually knew my parents. When we were teens, I guess parents weren't much older than you and I are now. Eeek! Thank you for the nice comments.


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!