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Life Chez Dee Episode #6: A Birthday Weekend ... An Entertaining Read (I hope)

It was my birthday this week. Another year gone by far too quickly. I decided that I’d just write about the weekend, just about life as it is Chez Dee. “You know that blogs are meant to be entertaining don’t you mum?" says William. "The term blog literally means “to entertain”.”

No I didn’t. Really? I’m not sure that all blogs which are published are there to entertain. But hopefully whether entertaining or not, it will be a good read.

A lovely day, albeit cold and rainy, and very unusual for my birthday I must say. It was a school day, so as such the present opening was a bit rushed. The cat decided that he’d get in the middle of all the present opening too …. He has a bit of a liking of eating plastic, so the temptation to chew the edges of the paper where the sellotape was, was just far too tempting. It’s his birthday too … we think. Being a rescue cat we’re not really sure, but as we picked him from the cat sanctuary on my birthday last year, he officially shares the same birthday as me.

I had lots of lovely presents. Homemade cards from the boys. William gave away what he’d bought me in his card, so what I was reading didn’t quite make sense. “If at first you don’t succeed, call mum” it says. Hmmmm might need to frame that one.

Chocolates and a film from Oliver which was nice, not that he’d have had a chance of giving me the chocolates had Edward been here. Edward ALWAYS bought me chocolates. ALWAYS. Probably because he then wanted me to open them and eat them with me!

Justin bought me the most beautiful Victorian locket. I’d been after a large mourning locket for a long time. He found this and ordered it all the way from Brighton. I wonder who it belonged to? I wonder who’s picture had once been inside it? Who’s lock of hair? What happened to them? What was their story? I hope that somewhere in the dim and distant past, maybe it belonged to one of my ancestors … unlikely I know, but I hope and want to believe all the same that it was meant to fall into my possession. And now I have this, I will treasure it; I can keep a lock of Edward’s hair with me always … such a special gift.

I spent the day with no particular agenda really … mooching with J. It was lovely to be doing nothing really, and actually have nothing planned. J was tired from just getting back from a business trip. I’m just tired … always.

So the day consisted of garden centre mooch; buying a garden fork; getting some local cheese; going for coffee; having a long lunch with friends; cuppa with my mum and dad; chat with my sister; and an evening of fish & chips and scrabble. Maybe I’m getting old, but it was perfectly lovely.

It was nice to receive so many birthday messages, so many cards, impromptu visits with gifts and flowers; and even comments that I don’t look my age. …. All of which I was really touched by … especially the latter. It’s been a while since I’ve been mistaken for 26 I must say … and were it true, that would mean I must have had W when I was only 10! Living quite the fictional life … quite funny really, as William had his German speaking GCSE exam this week, and knocked five years off my age when talking about me. He also told the examiner that we’d only been married for 9 years, but I’ll forgive that slander as he’s made up for it with knocking years off my age … and I’ve had even more years knocked off my age being mistaken for 26!.

The whole weekend has been rather a “go with the flow” sort of weekend. William has been revising for GCSEs, J has been sorting out the lawn with a bit of reseeding, I wrote off Saturday as I went down with some funny bug causing labyrinthitis which meant I was in bed all that morning and not fit for much the rest of the day.

Obviously we visited Edward again this weekend, tinged with sadness as always, but especially on weekends such as birthdays. He should be here, with me, eating chocolates, causing chaos. We arrive at the cemetery, and Edward has visitors. So lovely when I bump into others visiting him, especially those who don’t live locally, especially those who didn’t know him, but feel they do. We’re chatting, and then out of the corner of my eye I notice a lady (who is always up at the cemetery at a grave fairly near Edward). She’s saying something to Oliver who’s sitting on Edward’s bench. And I know what she’ll be saying, as she’s always saying things to me, or to Oliver which aren’t very nice. She never says hello – she never smiles – yet she always chastises Oliver. “Don’t you go climbing that tree!” “It’s disrespectful!” “There are ashes under the tree!”

I don’t want to argue, she’s here at the cemetery to visit her loved one; but at the same time, I don’t want her intimidating Oliver. Oliver has come to visit his brother, to sit at his grave, to be with him. He wasn’t even climbing the tree when she started with her warnings. But he loves to climb the tree, and does so often … and why not? Oliver doesn’t stamp around the tree, he doesn’t shout, he doesn’t make noise, he may climb the tree but it is in no way being disrespectful. The ashes which are round the tree, are historic, are not in any marked area, and are not being trampled. Oliver standing at the base of the tree is in no way any different to say walking up the hill where Justin’s dad’s ashes are scattered.

Edward would actually love Oliver to be climbing the tree, and would be actively encouraging it …. He’d be up there himself if he were visiting someone. Lots of children climb the tree, including lots of Edward’s friends who visit him, who want to just sit there, think, reflect and just be.

Many children go visiting at the cemetery – they feed ducks, they arrive by bike or scooter, I see them doing cartwheels on the grass. They’re children. They’re coming to this place where their loved ones are, and they are being themselves. There is no inappropriate behaviour; they are not being disrespectful. There are adults who go to visit their loved ones. They have a drink up there; they have a cigarette; they chat as they would do if their loved ones were here with them physically. It is lovely; it is special; it is not disrespectful.

I actually find it disrespectful that someone feels the need to constantly reproach Oliver when he sits with his brother.

Go sit in the tree Oliver I say to him. And I look at him, at what he’s wearing … Edward’s trainers, Edward’s joggers; Edward’s hoodie … he’s even wearing the TEAM #forEdward tshirt he got from the Swimarathon event. And in that glimpse … it could be Edward sitting there … and I think that is very special.

So I say to all children who visit at the cemetery. Visit your loved ones; remember them; talk to them; visit often; be yourselves; make sure you climb that tree and give a nod to Edward when you do.

I was just about to publish this blog, when I decide I’ll let William have a read before I do so … just to see if it meets blog criteria.

“Well?” I say …“Yeah, it’s good”.

“Entertaining?” I say…“Enough!” he replies.

That’ll do for me.

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