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