An orange can make the world a better place

Today, as I sit and eat an orange and juice runs down my arms and gets all over my face and I get orange bits between my teeth, my world is just that bit brighter.


You see, this is no ordinary orange. This is a very special orange – it represents something that I thought was a missed opportunity.

My Mum had an orange tree. It was her pride and joy and every year she delighted in eating the fruit, but more than that, she loved to share the fruit with her loved ones. I have vivid memories of eating oranges at her dining room table while she sat and watched, and smiled. I know as she lovingly watered it, she thought of the fruit that would come and the happiness it would bring.

When Mum died in July 2014, the oranges were on her tree as they were every year. I had not had an orange from her tree that year, she had been too ill and we had been in the whirlwind of her rapid decline in health and sudden death. Then there was the funeral to plan and the day of the funeral to get through.

My brother Cullen had the forethought to pick a basket of oranges from her tree and take them to her funeral and asked her friends and family that were present, to take an orange and to enjoy it and think of Mum.

I thought it was a wonderful idea and I took an orange, but I could not bring myself to eat it. It went rotten in my fruit bowl and it matched the gloom that descended upon me.

Last year my brothers and I were still in the throes of sorting Mum’s house out and getting it ready for sale and I went on my overseas trip following my ancestry, thanks to Mum.

The oranges didn’t really enter my thoughts too much, but as I think about it now, the fact that the tree was not cared for after Mum died, meant that it got diseased and didn’t bear fruit last year.  Cullen gave it a big prune and laid the slate for it to fruit this year. Same with the peach tree.

Then as fate may have it, I decided to buy my brothers out of Mum’s house and to keep it as an investment property so that I could keep the house that meant so much to me, in my life. It was a house full of memories – I had moved there with Mum when I was 17 and turned into an adult there (even having a cracking 18th birthday party there and then a rerun three weeks later). My Mum had sold the house to my Nana and Grandad in their ailing years and moved next door and then bought it back when they moved into nursing homes. So not only was it full of memories of my Mum, also of my grandparents who died in 2007.  It was just too important to me and the thought of not knowing who was in it, or whether it was being looked after, was too much for me to cope with and so it became clear that I needed to keep it.  Which I did. I then prepared it to rent out, rather than for sale and was overjoyed with the final result.

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Now that I am another year down the track and a fair bit stronger, the thought of sitting down and enjoying Mum’s oranges is a thought that brings me  joy.  The fact that I kept the house, and found a wonderful tenant, means that now, every year, we are able to enjoy Mum’s oranges. So, this is the first one of Mum’s oranges I have eaten since before she even got sick. This is something I thought I gave up the opportunity to do when I didn’t eat the one I took from her funeral. That makes me very happy.

I have now finished it – devoured it in minutes and it was quite possibly the sweetest fruit I have ever eaten in my life. I thought of Mum with every bite and felt her watching and smiling and saying “that’s my Girl”.

Love you Mum and thank you for all the years of looking after the orange tree so that we can enjoy the fruit for years to come. The decision to keep Mum’s house was a great one, for even more reasons than I first thought.

I know she lead me to make the decision to keep it, and I know that she had a hand in Ruth being the tenant. There are just too many co-incidences for her not to have.

I am grateful that she taught me how to trust my instinct and the Universe.

This entry was posted in Families by kirra111. Bookmark the permalink.

About kirra111

I am in my early 40's with a loving husband and a son. I came in to the blogging world recently when my much loved Mum (Catherine Crout-Habel) passed away. Genealogy and blogging became Mum's life in her later years when her body started failing her. Her blog is her legacy and I couldn't let it die with her.

16 thoughts on “An orange can make the world a better place

  1. You definitely have Catherine’s genes Kirralee…you write so evocatively. Isn’t it amazing how a piece of fruit can bring so many memories back and evoke so much emotion. Well done Cullen for keeping on with the pruning too 🙂 So pleased the house will stay in the family.

    • Thanks Oauline. I do feel like I write like my Mum, I just don’t have the amount of stories to tell, so my posts are far more sparse than hers.

  2. What joy it must have given you to eat that orange! It is strange the way fate enters our lives and leads us down these paths, will always remember the antics of the peach tree and the possum what fun it was to hear Catherines stories of how she was feeding it with brussel sprouts. Keep up the stories Kirrily it was great to read. xxM

    • Thanks Mandy. Writing can come so easy sometimes – like thus time, and then other times it just doesn’t happen and I don’t feel drawn to post.

  3. Your story gave me goosebumps, Kirra! I’m sure your mum is with you now, cheering you on every step of the way, as you become strong again, and make wise and heartfelt choices for your future. ❤

  4. I’ve been blessed to know you for many a year Kirrily and yet here I sit reading your words in awe with tears on my cheeks and savouring that orange – such beautiful words, echoing your Mum’s voice and as Pauline, Mandy and Kylie have said, you are a fabulous storyteller !

    • Thanks B. It appears that it does run in my family – from my Grandad (Mum’s Dad – I think perhaps he got it from his Mum as my understanding is that his Dad’s Canadian family don’t have the storytelling gene.

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