Saturday, June 30, 2007

June 30th

Today was my sister's birthday. She would have been 70 had she not died on Feb. 4th of cancer. To mark the occasion, a mass was said at St. Norberts church and I went up to attend with my brother-in-law. We said prayers for Eilleen and hoped fervently that she is in a better place.

After mass we went to Norm's, a favorite of Jims, for breakfast where I had loaded hash browns - hash browns with onion, peppers, bacon bits and cheese; 2 eggs over medium and sourdough toast, well done. Jim had 2 eggs over medium, hash browns and the same well done toast. We both like our toast slightly charred, which is a major coincidence as most people like toast "rare". During breakfast, in an attempt to lift our spirits, I tried my new magic trick out on Jim...the disappearing handkerchief. It came off fairly well even though he knows about the thumb. There's still plenty of room for improvement. I can also make sugar disappear which might be a trick to concentrate on as it is more food related. Eilleen would have liked the trick.

After breakfast, we went to the house, picked a few flowers - mostly pink plumeria which Eilleen loved and put them on her resting place in the cemetery nearby. It was a beautiful day out there and we enjoyed sitting under a big tree in the shade with the wind chimes tinkling in the breeze. With a couple of coffees to drink, we reminisced about the 5 months we've suffered without her and concluded that we felt happy that she had missed out on the inevitable suffering that would have involved a lengthy battle against her cancer. Jim said a prayer.

Eilleen and I shared a wonderful meal together shortly before she died. It was the last supper for the two of us together. After shopping for size 0 clothes for her (she had been losing weight and all her clothes were falling off) we went to Red Robin and had fish and chips - one of her favorites. The fish was perfectly fried with a crunchy crisp coating and flaky, moist flesh inside. The chips were golden and not too crisp - perfect for slathering with vinegar and salt - reminiscent of our childhood in Winnipeg. She loved the creamy coleslaw and ate every little morsel. We laughed heartily together over little things and our waiter spent more time with us than was necessary likely because we were having more fun than anybody else in the crowded restaurant.

The only bit of food I saw her enjoy after this was a single grape that her son squeezed lovingly into her mouth three weeks later, just before she lost consciousness and died.

I wonder if fish and chips will ever taste the same again.