On Mothers' Day, Lori and I went to Mount Royal Cemetery to 'visit' our Mums. Well, actually, I left Lori to chat with Connie, her Mum, while I made the rounds of several generations of our strong women ancestors. Auntie Eileen, first, then Gram's sister, Auntie (Jenny Spicer Press), and nearby, great-grandma Laura Mary Spicer. I wound my way back to Mum's grave, Gram's and Auntie Joyce's - as well as Connie's and lay on the grass gazing heavenwards - if heaven's up.
I don't know what I believe about heaven. Who knows anything for certain? But I was transported to a heavenly place as I wandered the cemetery - and as I lay on the grass - sweet scents of crabapple and cherry blossoms wafting on gentle breezes ... Sunlight shimmering on new leaves of giant maples. It was .... well, sort of like "When Harry Meets Sally" - "I'll have some of what she's having." Except I was silent. So who would have known I was in ecstasy?
For the past two weeks, I've been able to find lilies-of-the-valley in different places - when they'd gone past in one spot others were just coming out iomewhere else. White scented bells stand in a vase beside my bed, and I'm back in Gram's garden on Lafayette - or picking some for Miss Pittman to place on her desk at William White .... so sweet - comforting - waking and going to sleep and waking again - to heaven's scent. When I returned to Montreal from Boston in 1983, the Donovans gave me a set of lily-of-the-valley powder and creams. I made the powder last until about a year ago - mmmm... And when Abbie Donovan was just a little tyke, we'd walk the Chestnut Hill neighbourhood where they lived and pick lilies-of-the-valley for her Mom.
And now, a different scent - heaven's scent? - maybe. I smell like Dettol or something of the sort. I've just had my first disinfectant shower before my back surgery tomorrow morning. 4:30 am for the next one. Sandy's going to call me at 4:30 to make sure I'm awake so I can call Mary Klinck to make sure she's awake and ready to pick me up at 5:30. Stella's meeting me at the hsopital at 6. At the pool today, I told a friend I've made there that I'm having back surgery tomorrow. She asked me who my surgeon is. I said, "Dr. Maleki." She replied, "He's almost my cousin! I know him very well. He's head surgeon - a wonderful doctor, and you are really lucky to have him." Instant decrease in anxiety. Lori and Doris are going to be there after the surgery. Stella's going to call Jim and Sandi. Tracy and/or Ian are picking me up from the Neuro. Lori's staying over Friday night when I get home. Sandy's offering to come Saturday and Sunday for whatever I need. Doris helped me tidy and organize today. Robin Lefebvre, a local notary I just discovered, re-did my will for me - though I don't intend (hoping) to die yet, it's a relief to have that done. And on it goes.... prayers and good wishes and offers of help. A call from Wales. Surely friends are heaven's scent? And competent surgeons and kind notaries.
Tonight I received an e-mail from Gordon and Janis Leggett in Suffolk, England, telling me, in addition to an assurance of prayers, that Uncle Alf had had a heart attack on Saturday and died. Uncle Alf was 100 on Christmas Eve 2012. He was still active. Drove a four-wheel little vehicle about the countryside near their home, and his car to church. He was a master craftsman - exquisite workmanship in furniture, inlaid patterns ... a large garden ... and Auntie Alma (whose Mum was my Gram's first cousin on the Spicer side) at about 96 is still living in the house where she was born. Uncle Alf and Auntie Alma have lived a Christian life of love and compassion and goodness. I'm so sad I won't see him again. And I'm so filled with joy to have known him. He touched my life with goodness, as have Auntie Alma, Janis and Gordon. And next time I'm over, I'll visit, and I'll stop by the wee country cemetery where his earthly remains will lie and I'll give thanks for a gentle, grace-full man. Heaven's scent comes in many forms. Thank you, Uncle Alf.
Now if I had any 'sense' - I'd get ready for bed and an early rise. And I pray that the pesky cats will decide to sleep tonight rather than maraud about the apartment at 11:00 like great gallummphing heffalumps .
'Night, Bill. 'Night, Lou. 'Night, May - Sandi, my sister-in-law, back when we were very young and before we were related, used to tromp down the hall with her roomie at Macdonald College, to their room in Stewart Hall (women's residence!) at about 9:00pm - we had to be in our rooms and QUIET by 9:00 in 1964 - calling something like the above - from Prufrock or some other poem - "Night All - 'Night!" ...
I'll be back next week if not before - with a sore back but one that is hopefully on the mend. Meanwhile, thanks all ... for being my friends and family. Heaven's scent. :-)