Sunday, 1 April 2012

Cruel April

T.S. Eliot, in his 1922 poem, The Waste Land, begins:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers
In my family, April is cruellest month. It is tinged with sadness and memories of Dad's passing, twenty years ago, on 3 April 1992. A life cut too short, by cancer, at age 57. It's difficult to believe that he's been gone so long - so much has happened since - new spouses and partners, the birth of grandchildren, new homes and jobs. Another lifetime, really. But I still feel the pang of someone missing at every milestone that we encounter. I know that he's with us as we proceed on this journey, whispering words of encouragement, telling us not to take everything so seriously, and to cherish the moments that we have with one another. It's always hard to get through the day of his passing, but we do, because he would have wanted it that way.

We also remember his father and our grandfather, William Huxtable Ball, who passed away 6 April 1971. While my memories of Granddad are just glimpses of the past, Dad always talked of him, especially on the day of his passing. The fondness and reverence in which he held his father is deeply embedded in me - a gift from him that I will always cherish. Our time together is short - often cut shorter by cruel diseases like cancer, which has claimed too many in our family.

This year, April is particularly cruel, as we remember Dad's brother, Bill, who passed away 6 April 2011. Living on opposite sides of a country, we weren't there with my cousins and aunt in their hour of despair, but felt the pain and hurt as we marked Dad's passing, in the knowledge that cancer would quickly claim Bill too. My heart goes out to my dear cousins as they mark the first anniversary of the passing of their beloved father. Bill was the last link to Dad - his only sibling and surviving member of his immediate family. Now that Bill is gone, it feels like Dad has slipped away further - but will never be forgotten.

Fondly remembered...

Bill, Granddad and Dad, ca. 1949

Take care, K.


mgb said...

Hi Karen,
I don't know if you remember me, "Gaby", Kim's friend from West Deane and the neighbourhood. I've just read your post and wanted to send you and your family warm thoughts today and at this time.
I remember your Dad well even though it was a LONG time ago. I have memories of him being funny and warm, once scolding us (in jest) for using his plywood to make our lemon meringue pie crust. It was so hard! :)
I have fond memories of your whole family, including your mother who I thought was the sweetest mom ever. And, of course, Kim and Gary.
I hope you are all well and send you hugs during this difficult family period.
Take good care,

Karen Ball said...

Hi Gaby,
Yes, I do remember you! Thanks for your kind words about Dad. I had to laugh when you mentioned the lemon meringue pie and the hard crust - it brought back many memories! We had dinner with my mother on Sunday and joked about how Dad used to say "Pies, they are round aren't they?" whenever he felt that a hankering for dessert. We miss him terribly, but have many good memories of our time together to keep us going. I hope that all is well with you.

Take care,