Sunday 5 November 2017

Stop the Clocks

Mum died a year ago - at 8 pm on November 4, quite suddenly and painlessly, from a stroke. She was 92 and had been in a nursing home for less than two years.
The entry for mum, in the Book of Remembrance at the crematorium, looks dignified and hers is the last on the page for November 4th. I doubt whether that's because no-one else died in her part of the industrial Midlands on the same day. We are talking about a vast urban population. It may have something to do with the huge increase in costs for funerals and memorials.

The bench we ordered when dad died in 1993 was finally refurbished in time for mum's birthday - this August - when she would have been ninety-three. My aunts - her sisters - took a posy there on mum's anniversary. It all looked very fitting.

Since creating 'mum's garden' at our house I have been adding another plant to mum's favourite collection of flowers on significant dates. This November I planted a cream hellebore named 'Christmas Carol'. If mum had still been with us I would have taken her a similar Christmas Rose - she would have approved.

Strangely however, our indoor Christmas cactus has, as last year, flowered early. When my brother rang on November 4, 2016, to say mum had died, the Christmas cactus suddenly bloomed. It was at least seven weeks early. And again, a whole year later, the cactus flowered prematurely, sending spikey pinky-red flowers way up into the air. Again to the day when mum's spirit left the temporal world.

Even more confounding is that two carriage clocks and a kitchen wall clock stopped working - all within 24 hours of each other - as we approached mum's anniversary on November 4th. It was a simple matter of changing the clock batteries but given that one of the clocks is fifty years old, another twenty-five and the newest approximately ten and their batteries were replaced at very different times of the year it is curious that they should all stop ticking on the same day.

Stop the clocks.
We will remember.