Thursday, June 02, 2005

A picnic for my sister and some more stuff


We had family picnic on Monday in honour of my sister, Mim. Monday was the twentieth anniversary of the day she died. She was twenty years old, and in her second year at university. She was knocked off her bike and was not wearing a helmet. Her skull was fractured and her brain injuries killed her two days later. I was fourteen at the time, my brothers seventeen and twenty one.

My mum and her partner, dad and his wife, my two brothers and their partners and children, and the four of us met in the park that was opposite where we lived as children, and where a tree is planted in memory of Mim. We brought photos and ate food that Mim particularly liked. The food idea was Pearl's and it was an inspired one. We all remembered different things (although there was something of a glut of quavers and twiglets!) and it made the event special.

The picnic was lovely, though the weather was pretty changeable. The kids played and climbed trees and the adults reminisced and chatted generally. It was not a sad occasion but somehow a fitting one – just a moment to remember. It was also a moment to acknowledge the fact that we still feel the gap in our family. But the children are all so wonderful and full of the energy of right now that they stopped it feeling too sad, or too stuck in the past.

There's a lot more I could say but I don't want to ramble on.


The weather perked up and we went with my mum, my brother and niece and nephew S and D (7 and 3) to our beach hut in Hove. It was a truly beautiful day to be on the beach – not hot but bright and breezy. The kids played on the beach making sand constructions and filling holes with sea water over and over again! When we'd had enough we went along to the play area and the kids climbed on the frames and ate lollies.

In the evening it was our HE group parents' meeting at our house. Pearl and Leo were thrilled by the arrival of their friend O from the group. The meeting ran on until nearly eleven and the children were all happily curled up together on a duvet on our bedroom floor watching late night Power Rangers!


The kids have been predictably tired today so have pottered at home. This morning we did a quick experiment with an old bottle of fizzy lemonade, which has been lurking in the cupboard, and some raisins. You drop the raisins in the lemonade and they sink. As the bubbles form on the raisins they whiz up to the surface, and then they sink again. This was surprisingly satisfying. Leo decided to try it with his favourite stone and we discussed why this didn't work. Pearl just raised her eyebrows at me as he plopped his stone into the glass – which was very forebearing! He said:
"Hmm. This doesn't work. The stone's too… heavy?"

This afternoon D took them around the corner to the chemist where they bought bandages and a pedometer. The kids used the bandages to play hospitals today. This was going on when I got home and seemed to involve making medicine with soap, water and pasta shapes. Various concoctions are sitting on the bathroom window sill.

Dani and pearl made bread rolls this afternoon but Leo wouldn't wash his hands so he didn't join in! Given the amount of time his fingers spend up his nose I'm quite glad Dani held firm on that one.

Anyway, loads to do so I'd better leave it there.


Sarah said...

The picnic sounds like a lovely way to remember your sister, Allie, and it also sounds really special that so much of your family managed to get together as well.

Little Minx said...

How wonderful that you all still do something so beaytuiful for your sister and her memory is being given to your children.

June said...

Agreed, what a lovely idea the picnic is :o)

Little Minx said...

I have such lovely spelling!

Sarah said...

My brother died at 22, almost 10 years ago. My family won't really talk about him. Your picnic sounds like a fantastic way to remember, really special.

Heather said...

That seems a lovely way to share your memories of Mim, with each other and with new family members.

amanda said...

What a lovely idea, one of my friends died 18 months ago a few of us go out around her birthday to remember

Jayne said...

Sorry to be so repetitive,BUT....The whole notion of what you and your family did is just right and just how I would like to be remembered.
Brilliant also that the children were involved.

Alistair Chisholm said...

Allie, thank you for the entry on the picnic. It was moving and uplifting - your family sounds so unusually decent.