I was standing in the kitchen making a carrot cake for a couple of friends who are coming over for morning tea tomorrow, smiling at the enjoyment I get in cooking for people I care about and I noticed the plant I call Pat's Purple Plant. It got me thinking about those people I've truly loved that are no longer with me.
Pat was a wonderful friend who had a smile that lit up the room. She was my mum's friend really, but she was the most gorgeous lady. She used to give me all these little pearls of wisdom, some with a humourous twist, and always with a smile. Pat left us through Motor Neruon Disease a few years ago.
I can never hang washing out, failing to give each item a good shake without thinking of Fran. She was the mother of some kids I grew up with, and stayed a major part of our lives even after we'd all grown up and left home. She used to watch me hang out the washing with a frown as I hung wet and crumpled items from one end to the other. I still hang washing wet and crumpled, but always think of Fran as I do it. We lost Fran to cancer.
Every time I see Kayley swimming the length of the pool I think of Aunty Heather. The joy she'd get from Kayley's swimming and sports makes me sad that she's not here with us. As my Dad's sister Heather was another lady who had lots to do with us. Three years ago we lost Heather to a long battle with dementia.
And finally, raising my little tribe I often think of my maternal grandmother. She was mother to 11 children of her own as well as foster children and she survived. While I never knew her, I often wonder what she'd say to me as I'm ranting at the children, or charging around trying to do everything at once. I wonder what she'd say when I complain about how much I have to do with all my modern conveniences knowing she used to wash in a big copper, cooked over a fire and bathed her children in a tin tub. Maybe I should think that more before I moan.
I am smiling as I write this. How strange that those who come to me most often in my thoughts are no longer here; all are women; all had some pretty amazing hardships through their lives and each one maintained a brilliant sense of humour and the ability to keep smiling. This, in turn, makes me think of those women who are part of my life now. It's my goal to think of them often now while I can pick up the phone, drop them an email or pop round with a cake, card and cuddle. I don't want to wait until you're no longer here to remember how awesome you are!