Three little birds...
Updated: Oct 20, 2019
'A year ago my mum decided she felt very tired (who’s not, right?)
While it may have been the effects of a great week with her 2 grandsons, she popped along to the doctors.
After a few days of tests and isolation in a hospital room, it turned out she had Leukaemia.
She was sentenced to at least 2 rounds of chemo - so 2 stretches of 5-6 weeks isolated in hospital (all visitors had to wear gloves and gowns, no flowers, very bland food - and endless daytime TV). This was all too familiar after my dad died from cancer only 3 years earlier.
Mum dealt with the first stretch of 10 days of chemo as if she was having no more than a cup of tea and a biscuit a couple of times a day. The following 2 weeks were a bit rocky - her immune system was stripped away by the drugs and rebuilt - so she picked up some niggly coughs which made things uncomfortable. Above all, you would never have known she was gravely ill - so brave, and resolute that this would not beat her.
We wanted to celebrate this first stretch of chemo. What do you get someone that wouldn’t be at home to enjoy a gift and instead would be isolated in a drab hospital room for rolling sessions of 6 weeks or more for the foreseeable future, that needed to know there were people outside who loved her and were thinking of her, that couldn’t receive flowers, and that had long since run out of wall space for cards?! We put that quandary to Taylor’d Bundles…
Caz suggested a set of her little birds made by Willa & Bobbin - they were made from Liberty Print, one of mum’s personal favourite materials - and just cried out “here’s our arm around your shoulder” like she had done so many times for us. Those little birds perched on her hospital room for 5 months. What a gift!
Unfortunately, mum finely lost her fight with leukaemia - leaving a huge hole for her family and friends. Those birds now sit on my desk.
So Christmas rolled around, and I was pondering how Christmas should go without mum. She had embraced Christmas with gusto, and a generous spirit. We would certainly be missing her standard mountain of presents. What to do?? Well, with the success of the birds, I spoke to Caz again. I wanted to create a bundle of gifts for each of the family that reflected the level of thought mum would have put in, and perhaps some of the random (what the bloody hell is this for mum??!!) factor.
I also didn’t really want to do all the shopping - Mum loved doing that, but I didn’t have the time or inclination! We talked it through, and came up with the idea of replicating the birds but with some of Mum’s material that meant something to each of us (a bit of one of dad’s shirts, some of her beautiful skirt, and her 3 boys’ robot bedding from when we were little). We added some PJs, some random but ultimately very useful kitchen gadgets, obviously some chocolate, and bundled all that in a personalised pillow case for extra christmassy effect. They went down brilliantly on the day.
I got an extra surprise - a good friend had got hold of a particularly poignant photo of Mum and I perched on a cliff overlooking a sparkling slice of the Pacific Ocean shortly after my dad died only 3 years before Mum. This was turned into a stunning embroidered picture made by Girl Friday which perfectly captured the moment. Not only was it a great bit of art, it gave the moment greater meaning - there’s a spare seat there, with my arm around it - perhaps dad was sitting there too? He certainly should have been.