I still remember us getting her up out of her (death) bed to sit at the dining room table to raise a glass to my youngest brother when he turned 16 just one week before she died. I am not surprised she died before her birthday! We would have hauled her out of her bed, high on pain killing morphine at the end stages of cancer, and forced her to drink some bubbles to celebrate her birthday. It was just what we did. We celebrated any achievement or significant occasion with some cheap, sparkly bubbles (even if it was just a shooter glass full.) And that is just the way my Mom loved it.
My Mother was an amazing woman. When I posted the fact that it was my Mother’s birthday on Facebook this morning one comment struck me in the tear ducts. This person and I have known each other since forever (I think we were in Grade 1 together.) She wrote:
Happy Birthday, Mrs Chalupsky, Lady of the cats and the curlers. Always prepared to have another half-dozen children roaming through the house, helping themselves to juice and sandwiches and generally causing chaos.
Wow! She has my Mom down to a tee. My Mom was a hairdresser but after having 4 kids in 5 years she resorted to working from home. She cut every kid in the neighbourhood’s hair and did perms and up-do’s for all the Yummy Mummy’s, Grannies and Desperate Housewives in Westville. I loved lying on her bed on a Saturday morning and listening to all the “skinner” whilst Mom fluffed and titivated the coifs of the Westville Villagers
And the cats? Like me, she couldn’t say no to a stray 4-legged furry creature needing a home. We had about 6 cats and 5 dogs at any given time.
She had her faults. As an adult and a mother I can now say she was too selfless. Too giving of everything she had; her time, her energy, her cooking expertise, her health...the list goes on. She never said No to anything asked of her.
I often ask myself if I was a good enough daughter to deserve a Mother like I had. How do I answer such a question when I was not yet an adult when I lost her? I look at my own daughter and wonder how she would cope if I were to die 1 year from now and the thought leaves me cold. She is such a baby still.
My three brothers and I were privileged and blessed to have had a mother like Mercia Chalupsky. My Dad found a rare gem. How true is the saying – only the good die young?