Forgive me:

IMG_2001Is there a mistake you’ve made that turned out to be a blessing—or otherwise changed your life for the better? Tell us about it. Ben Huberman

Today, I feel a bit self indulgent, when such horrendous things are happening in the Middle East. Forgetting about the troubles in the world for the moment, I’d like to share with you a couple of my many mistakes.

I had been sitting by my Mother’s hospital bed, not knowing how long she had, for the three weeks before she died. Looking on the bright side, she had a single room and the sun shone through the window. As she’d been an army nurse during the WW2 she had a gold card, which meant she had the best of medical services.

This period gave us time to talk, though there were so many things I didn’t say, which I wished I had, afterwards. My Mother, Brenda, didn’t lose her sense of humour. She raised her eye- brows as an obese person passed the door in a hospital gown showing a bare back view as they passed. She had a good report with her doctor, as he wrote me a heart felt letter after she died.

My eldest brother came to share her last hours, whilst Brenda was unconscious, preparing for her departure. My Mother died after we left the hospital. We returned at 2am to a body, no longer my Mother. It is something that has been written about, but until you experience this, it is not something one can prepare oneself for.

Numbness enveloped me. Brenda had been my best friend. We spoke constantly on the telephone between our visits to one another. Now there was a gaping hole. Fortunately for me, I’d married Christopher the year before, so I was not alone, though he was working in Victoria at the time.

Clive and I made the necessary arrangements with the undertaker. Being numb, I allowed them to take over and arrange the flowers etc. The death notice was quickly put together, forgetting the right etiquette: our diseased Father, spouses and children forgotten. We just put my Mother’s five children’s names in reverse order. This was probably trying to keep things simple, forgetting others’ feelings.

The funeral turned out to be a huge affair. Coming from a large family, plus my Mother having worked on many committees, been a people person and befriending many, her influence was widely felt in the town. The Presbyterian Church was over flowing. When I saw the coffin I cringed. The flowers on the coffin were salmon pink gladioli with some other flowers. Gladioli were the one flower my Mother hated. She’d been forced to carry them at her own wedding and she complained how heavy and stiff they were.

Brenda had done the flowers at the church for years and did flowers for others’ funerals/ weddings, and here I was having neglected to arrange them for her funeral. I felt ashamed of myself.

Christopher and I returned to Victoria the next day only to be rung the following day to hear that his Father had died. We returned to Devonport to arrange for Eric’s funeral. This time I was able to do the flowers myself, cutting them from my Mother’s garden. Arranging a wreath for his coffin was done with much love. If only I’d been thinking straight and been able to do this for my Mother. It felt so therapeutic arranging those flowers and they did look beautiful.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/favorite-mistake/

 

 

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21 thoughts on “Forgive me:

  1. bkpyett Post author

    Hilary, Lovely to hear from you and to know the post rang some bells for you. It is interesting how flowers can bring memories to life. I’m sure your Mother’s garden looked magnificent!
    I can appreciate gladioli now.

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  2. hilarycustancegreen

    This made me think of so many things. Thank you. I had my wedding party in my parents’ garden. My mother decided that to have a good show at the right time of year she would plant gladioli (never my favourite flower). They looked absolutely splendid and we had a happy day. I’m sure your mother would felt the same as I did.

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  3. prior

    wow – nice share here – and right when I was getting choked up – you kept it light and moved onto the flowers – so thanks for that – for smoothly letting us feel with you but then only so much – ha!

    and I just took a photo of my glads in the front yard – they were my first flower planted successfully in all this Virginia clay – and even though they are beautiful – and they grew in unamended soil and got me started on gardening – I can see why your mom did not like them – but I bet they looked nice at her funeral even if they were not a flower she loved – and because she carried them it may have even been more fitting to have them on display – hmmm I dunno –
    nice share. have a great day

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    1. bkpyett Post author

      Thank you Prior for your thoughtful comment. I can appreciate gladdies now and they are beautiful. It was just on the day I would have chosen differently. In the scheme of things, you are right, not an important issue. Have you ever seen Barry Humphries, the Australian comedian? He has made gladdies the National flower! 🙂

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  4. joannesisco

    Inevitably there are always regrets – our heads full of should-a, could-a, would-a – when we lose a loved one. We feel we failed in some way.
    It sounds like you had a beautiful relationship with your mother and I think that’s simply the only thing that mattered at the end 🙂

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  5. amamic1

    I agree with Helen. I don’t think the type of flowers matter for the person that’s passed away – they’re just symbolic of your regret at not having said everything to her that you’d wanted to say. But I’m sure your mother knew all those things, and understood.

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  6. ChristineR

    The only ‘good’ thing about your respective parents departing so close together would be that you and Christopher could share your grief with complete empathy. When my sister died, her closest friend was my brother’s wife, and that wonderful girl’s mother died that exact same day. I don’t think pain can be doubled up. There is so much to be done when a person dies, and a loved one is the worst person to be in charge. Thanks for sharing Barbara. [hugs]

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    1. bkpyett Post author

      Wow, Christine, what a dreadful time for your family. Your sister in law would have been totally traumatised. Life has some strange twists. Losing a sister must have been devastating enough on its own. Hugs to you too Christine. ❤

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  7. M-R

    You would be as foolish as I was to blame yourself, Ba. You know very well that in those circumstances one is elsewhere: one is somebody else. Blame THAT person, if you must.

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  8. C.C.

    Wow, what an awful lot to deal with in such a short amount of time. These two sentences evoked so much emotion, “The flowers on the coffin were salmon pink gladioli with some other flowers. Gladioli were the one flower my Mother hated.” Sorry for your loss.

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    1. bkpyett Post author

      C.C. it happened a year after my marriage. It was as if both were waiting for Christopher and me to find each other before they could depart..
      Thanks for you lovely comment. 🙂

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