Catherine Crout-Habel Day

So, today my Mum, Catherine Crout-Habel would have turned 68. It is almost 5 months since she left us and the void left behind has not begun to shrink. I know she would be proud of us for the way we are continuing to live our lives, but I also know that she would be happy that today is “all about her” as we pause in our busy lives and take time to remember the amazing woman she was, and what she achieved, and how she influenced us to become the successful people we are.

imageI have started the day well with prepping vegetables for a delicious lamb roast lunch while remembering favourite meals cooked by Mamo as well as other lovely memories with Jay.

Happy Catherine Crout-Habel/Mamo/Caiteile day everyone. May the sun shine brightly today and may there be more tears of Joy for the fact that she was part of our lives, rather than sadness because she no longer is.

A Horse Race in November that my Mum loved

horse

Today is the day of the Melbourne Cup – known in Australia as the Race that stops a Nation.

It’s an odd thing here in Adelaide, because Melbourne Cup is not a public holiday for us, for all intents and purposes it is a normal working day.  However, it is more common than not that Businesses stop, that people attend Melbourne Cup lunches and that most people seem to participate in some form of betting on the Race.  Adelaide does stop for the Melbourne Cup, it’s very difficult to get business done around lunchtime on the First Tuesday in November.

melbourne cup

The 2014 Melbourne Cup has just concluded and Horse Number 5, Protectionist, ridden by Ryan Moore has won.  This doesn’t mean a whole lot to me and the only reason I know is because it was on the telly in the snack bar that I went to get my lunch from.  I actually watched the race this year!

I had a morning tea where I invited all my staff to come and join me and drink coffee/tea and eat cake, which is very unusual for us, but due to the fact that I am appreciative to all of my staff that our office doesn’t stop for the Race that Stops the Nation.

I was also very pleased when I called my number one client at midday and he too was at his desk working hard.

So, perhaps less people are involved in the celebration than I thought…..

Then I remembered, my Mum, Catherine Crout-Habel, whose blog this is, LOVED the Melbourne Cup.  Considering she was not much of a gambler, and especially considering how terrified of horses she was, the fact that she reveled in all things Melbourne Cup was extremely unusual.

She would pull out posters of the horses and review all of the Horses running and she would choose who she thought would take it out this year.  This was more often than not based on the number or the colour that the jockey was wearing, certainly nothing scientific, but she really did love it.

Sometimes she would place a bet, more often not, but she would ALWAYS watch the race, and she would delight in the beauty of the horses.  She would describe the horses and the way they majestically strode to the finish line.

I went back through old posts, old emails and old text messages as I was eating my lunch to find something that she had written about the Melbourne Cup to share and came up with nothing.  So, I decided it all had to come from me, my memory.

I remember she loved Makybe Diva – a horse that won the Melbourne Cup in 2003,2004 and 2005 – wow, I can’t believe that was so long ago!  This is Makybe Diva:

Makybe Diva

An interesting fact I’ve just discovered is that Protectionist who won today ran the race in 3.17.71, which is the fastest time since before Makybe Diva’s reign started.  Media Puzzle won in 2002 with a time of 3.16.97.

I was sad when I thought that this was the first Melbourne Cup that Mum wasn’t able to enjoy and decided I needed to put up a quick post so that everyone knew how much Mum loved the Melbourne Cup.

Now, I need to get back to the pile of work that I should be attacking ….

Cheerio

animated smiley face winking

A sparkling bathroom and a continued commitment to my Mum

It’s currently 5 am and I have been up for an hour.  Our dog woke me up at 3.45 needing to be let out for a night-time wee and I wasn’t able to get back to sleep.  I could feel Mum pulling me towards the computer to write a blog.  This was, after all her chosen time to be up researching and blogging and having deep and meaningful conversations with people all over the world.

It’s been nearly four months since Mum died and over three months since my last blog post.  I’ve been busy, just a little, but that’s no excuse – I’ve had the biggest case of writers block.

I know there are stories to be written along the lines of those that Mum used to write about her family.  After all, that is why she set up this blog in the first place, but they haven’t formed in my brain yet.  I hope that they do.

Nothing has really presented itself to be worthy of sharing with anyone, let alone her loyal followers who were intrigued with her blogs, touched by her honesty, inspired by her bravery and drawn in to her love of investigating and sharing her knowledge.  What could I say that would be anywhere near as interesting as that?

Well yesterday I was at Mum’s house and it hit me that I need to write.  I need to share this experience and this realisation with those that she loved.  I’m sure that some of you have been wondering how I am going, and been concerned about the silence on Mum’s blog.  It all takes time, one foot in front of the other.

So, my “aha” moment came when I was sweating and scrubbing Mum’s shower alcove. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not enjoy any aspect of cleaning, and I especially despise cleaning bathrooms.  But for me, yesterday was not about just cleaning a bathroom, I realised it was much more important than that.  It was a continuation of the bond and the love that I have for my Mum and the commitment that I made to help her with aspects of her life that she found difficult or was not able to do on her own.

Mum had been ill for a while.  She had COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder which meant that her lungs didn’t work very well at all.  This worsened earlier in the year, which now was an indication that there was something more sinister happening, as she died in July of lung cancer.

So, with her illness came the inability to do much at all physically.  Walking more than 10 steps would mean she was out of breath.  So, of course, scrubbing her shower alcove went down the list of her priorities as she conserved her energy for more meaningful things in her life.

I knew this and could see her bathroom was getting pretty grubby, but my time with her was spent on the higher priority things like “chewing the fat” whilst drinking coffee around her kitchen table, sweeping the floor, putting on and hanging out loads of washing, taking her to doctors appointments, chemist trips and phone calls to various authorities to sort out things that she was not able to handle herself.

So the shower alcove was left for another day.

That day was yesterday.

I knew that Mum would have been embarrassed by the state of her bathroom, and I know that it was my trusted position to restore some dignity to her, even after her death.

So, I covered the whole shower alcove in “Easy off Bam, bathroom” and then I began scrubbing.  And scrubbing.  And rinsing. And soaking and scrubbing.

Rather than hating it, I enjoyed the feeling that with every bit of soap scum removed, I was continuing on the commitment that I made to help her with things that she could no longer do.  There will be people coming to her house over the coming months, some that she knows well, some that she knows not very well, and some that she doesn’t know at all. She would not have wanted any of them to see the state of her bathroom as it was, but I feel so much better now knowing that is no longer the case.

I know that she is not here to be embarrassed any more about the state of her bathroom, but death does not take away your pride and your dignity and those of us that remain have the responsibility of making sure that we honour her memory by making sure that there are no sideways glances or pity parties about how ill she was and how tough she did it, by strangers or any of those that were not in her trusted inner circle.

This is why I cleaned her bathroom, this is why I watered her lawn and her pot plants, this is why I took the clothes that she had in bags in her boot of her car that were meant to be donated to charity and this is why I am continuing my weekly commitment to help her with the jobs that she is no longer able to do.

With each of these jobs there is a sense of doing the right thing.  Of making sure that the “treasures” in her life are looked after – the photos, jewellery, cards and letters that I have in a drawer as well as her house.  She loved her house and when her health was better this was obvious to all.

All of the things that were higher up the list of priorities – the chewing of the fat and the doctors appointments have now dropped off the list altogether, which means that the priority list has changed, but my time spent “with” her is still addressing the priorities.  At the top of the list, which I keep under control weekly is handling all of her mail and making sure her bills are paid and unwanted or unneeded memberships and associations are cancelled and then the next of the list is sorting, clearing, maintaining, cleaning and eventually throwing out, donating or selling the possessions in her life, some of which were treasures and some which were not.

This will keep me and my brothers busy for some time.

But for now, here is your sparkling bathroom Mum and here is the new post on your blog – one of your very greatest treasures.

would Mum's shower Mum's bathroom

Look at me with my own identity on Mum’s blog!

Well, I did it, I worked out how to set up another administrator on Mum’s blog so that I as well as everyone else can identify what has been said by me and what was said by Mum.

I can feel Mum smiling down on me, clapping her hands with glee and saying something like “you clever chickadee”

So, my plan is that I hope to be able to do everything through my user name now, let’s see how I go.

Thanks so much for your kind words of support.

You will see that I am different to my Mum, but we certainly were “tarred with the same brush” and I like to think that a lot of what what great about her rubbed off on me.  We certainly did spend a lot of time together years ago before I had a family of my own.

See you later, alligator …….

….. In a while, crocodile …..

 

animated smiley face winking

 

Two best friends, ballet and night bells

Last Wednesday I (Kirrily) went to Mum’s (Catherine’s) house to pick up her mail and to go on the search for photos.  I have been posting photos of my Mum to an album on Facebook since she died on Sunday the 6th of July as a dedication.

Included in the mail was a letter addressed to the family of Catherine Crout-Habel.

It was from Margaret Jordan - Mum’s very best childhood friend.  They went to ballet together and from the sounds of it were inseparable.  They had lost contact years ago but had met up sometime in the past couple of years.  Mum told me all about it, they had a wow of a day.

There was a card and it was addressed to ‘the family of my friend Cathy” and included a photo.

Here is some of the letter that I read through eyes filled with tears-

“Cathy was 2 years younger than me and we grew up at Alberton/Queenstown just like sisters.  We were always at one another’s places and went to ballet together.  We had so much fun together and Cathy sometimes went with my Mother and I to Mildura for a few days to visit some of my relatives.

When we both learnt piano, we used to run down North Tce in the city, pressing all the night time bells.

I caught up with Cathy a couple of years ago after not speaking for years.  We met at Largs Bay Kiosk and showed one another photos of our families and grandchildren (of which she was extremely proud).  We met at 10am and were still chatting at 5pm.  I had such a great day and it was just so good to see her again after all those years, it was like we had never been apart.

We both had our ears pierced n 1959 at the same time,Cathy’s being done for her birthday that year.  Oh how scared we were, but we had one another, so that was OK.

I have enclosed a photo of the 2 of us aged about 14 or 15.  We always had such fun together.  We could talk to each other about anything!

Cathy was a beautiful person and a true friend.

Catherine Crout-Habel and Margaret Jordan at approx. 14 or 15, circa 1960

Margaret included her address, and I will write back and I will include a memorial card from Mum’s funeral.  I was so pleased that she sent the card and the photo and a few of the memories that came flooding back to her when she read about Mum’s death.

What made this even more special for me was that it reminded me so much of my best childhood friend – Stacey.  We see each other still, almost every week and we often relive many childhood memories.  She is waging her own war on cancer and I am there helping her do it as best I can.  We too can talk to each other about anything, which is especially useful when she is sitting in a chemo chair.  It has always been the same – every time we would see each other it would be just as if we saw each other the previous day, no matter how long it had been.

Childhood friends are the greatest, if you are lucky enough to hang on to them.  They knew you as a child and they know you as an adult and are able to appreciate all that there is about you because they know you so well and have shared history with you.

Do you have a dear childhood friend like Mum did with Margaret and like I do with Stacey?  I’d love to hear.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Mum’s childhood friend as much as I enjoyed sharing it.

Cheers,

Kirrily

RIP Mum, Catherine Crout-Habel

Hello,

My name is Kirrily Burton.  I am Catherine Crout-Habel’s daughter.  I am sure that most of you are aware, but perhaps some of you are not, that my much loved Mum, Catherine Crout-Habel passed away on Sunday the 6th of July at Royal Adelaide Hospital.

She posted about her health after her stroke in Feb and has made reference to her ongoing health struggles in comments on her blogs and on Facebook.

In the end it was really very quick, although she had really been quite ill since February.  We were given the diagnosis of metastatic non small cell carcinoma (lung cancer) which had metastasized to her lymph nodes in various parts of her body and her stomach on Thursday the 3rd of July and she passed away three days later.  A quick, relatively painless end is what she wanted most, and that’s exactly how it played out.  She was a winner in death as she was in life and she played by her own rules.

This is the end of my third week of bereavement leave and only now have I had the strength to spend the day looking at her blog.  It was obvious to me that I needed to post a status update, as she would not want to just disappear and leave her loyal followers wondering.

I have read so many caring compassionate comments from you all which has lifted my heart, as I know now that Mum really did have an idea about how much she was cared for by her blogging friends.  I have had contact with some and even quoted some at her funeral, and all the while I thought that she didn’t know how much you all cared about her.

I understand completely now her obsession with blogging.  I see how much love, support and respect was out there for her and why she loved being part of this world.  I now truly understand her obsession and I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for the love and caring you gave her for the last part of her life. 

She always said that her three kids were her greatest joy, but we all know that was closely followed by her online/blogging world.  I have no real regrets, but I do wish that I had thought to take her computer in to her while she was in hospital and blog for her or read some blogs to her.  I know now how much she would have loved that and how much it would have lifted her spirits.

I am new to this blogging world, and so I will now go and approve comments and be on the lookout to approve new comments so that her blog will live on.

Any tips/help/advice along the way would be much appreciated.

Thanks again,

Kirrily

ANZAC DAY 2014

My British Grandfather, Henry (Harry) Eden Crout served with the “Canadian Expeditionary Force” in France, for the entirety of World War 1. He led the Regimental Band on the “Somme” and elsewhere in the collecting of bodies, burying the dead and sounding their “final salute”… too sad    :sad:
Will we ever stop the Warmongers, and their supporters, whom benefit from this carnage?

 

WHAM!!! BAM…

Some things sure can hit you “out of the blue” and change your life forever.  Friday 21Feb2014 was a hot day, I wasn’t feeling well and the COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) was particularly difficult to manage but I had groceries to buy and especially medications… so I “soldiered” on.

After loading 10 bags of groceries in the boot I sat in the driver’s seat feeling v-e-r-y unwell. Not far from home, I figured sitting down with a delish cup of coffee is what was needed.  A few minutes later and not far from home it hit me…wham! bam!!!… couldn’t see a thing but did manage to locate the line in the middle of the road so focussed on that to try and judge where the side of the road was so I could pull over… then, one line down the centre of the road changed into two with one crossing over the other.  Intuitively I put a hand over one eye, then the other and worked out which one meant I had only one dotted line again… phew!!! By then I was close to the turn off into my street and very close to home.  Pulling into the driveway my sight returned, I just felt v-e-r-y tired and thought “that was weird”…

Long story to short it took a week to realise that in all probability it was a stroke… :-(  After three weeks in hospital, and a myriad of tests some things are still unclear but what we know is that, in addition to the COPD, I now have clots in the lungs and even had them on the tip of my right index finger… go figure…???  Seems that my body has been pinging off clots and one/ or part thereof made it to the right side of the brain and brought on the stroke. Have weakness down the left side but can make it around with a stick, have difficulty breathing and what is really annoying is the effect on my sight… blurred vision, difficult reading text with gaps appearing etc…  grrr

Well, I got out of hospital on 26Mar2014 and have had a “Rehabilitation in the Home” working with me to get me back “on track” asap. Have made progress but some annoying hiccups and another brief stay in hospital. However I am “on the mend” and just wanted to let my blogging friends and regular readers know that I haven’t “fallen off the twig” yet… Lucky me, eh?…  As my energy returns I will catch up on reading your blogs which I’ve missed terribly.

Many thanks also to those who’ve left fascinating comments which I’ll reply to asap and also some great emails from cousins re: their latest discoveries on our tree which is so exciting and I’ll get to as my energy quota allows it.

That’s all for now… I’m running out of puff at the minute but will get back to catching up on my reading very soon.  :-)

Cheerio for now and take good care everyone.

Musical Monday: Wake up my mind…

Badge. No conscripts to VietnamGrowing up in South Australia with all the horror of my brothers, their friends and mine threatened with the dreaded “lottery”… which could see them conscripted, at the age of 19, to go fight in Vietnam gave me a perspective which you can read about here.

Young people, at that time, gave voice to their opposition of government decisions which severely impacted on their  lives through music and song.  My children grew up to the sounds of “Songs of the Protest Era”and right now I can’t get one particular song out of my mind, given the way our Australian political situation is playing out right now.

Here it is…  Songs of the Protest Era

Here is the entire collection:

Songs of the Protest Era.2

Copyright © 2014. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Happy Australia Day, 2013.

Catherine:

Before Australia Day 2014 comes to an end I just have to share my post from 2013. For me, being Australian is being able to “take the piss” out of ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously.

Originally posted on Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family:

I’ll be off soon to enjoy my Australia Day “Aussie BBQ” …  may it be a happy day for everyone.

View original