Muriel Elizabeth Palmer was born on 21st June 1942 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Muriel was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis at the age of 16. She married James Cadger and gave birth to two children, Steven Greig (my first husband and the biological father of Kevin and Liam James) and Jill Elizabeth. The emigrated to South Africa and she worked for Standard Bank. Muriel and James divorced when their kids were teenagers.
I met Mom when I was 14 years old and dating her son who was in his early 20’s. She was already in a home then. Always happy to see you, always a smile on her face and even when in pain she’d smile and say ‘aye‘ if you asked how she felt. I admit it took me about a year to understand her proper Scottish accent. 🙂 She was selfless and satisfied with very little. My Mom, Yvonne use to bring her to our home for the weekend for a change of scenery now and then. My mom would buy her an outfit, usually a tracksuit as she got cold easily as she had very little clothes and shoes, cut her hair, give her a manicure and pedicure and rub her legs with cream. I wish people really understood how important human touch is. She didn’t like asking for anything and was very proud.
Steven and I would occassionally, when we felt rich as we had very little money, take her to Mike’s Kitchen for lunch. She loved that. Eventually we could fold and unfold that wheelchair no issues. Mom would always order her pudding first, then her starter and then her main meal…. occassionally more pudding. If she drank anything with alcohol in it, she would giggle as if she was a naughty school girl.
Steven and I use to visit her, as well as my sister in law, Jill. We would sit for awhile and chat as she got tired easily, or simply wanted to lie down and often just sit in silence while she smiled. She was thrilled when Kevin was born and she absolutly adored him. He was her favourite visitor. Her illness ketp deteriorating and eventually part of her leg was amputated which Kevin at the age of three thought rather funny. She would laugh with him and when she held him she looked so possitively content. By the time Liam James was born, she couldn’t remember much at all and poor Liam James didn’t feature. Funny as he is the only one with her blue eyes. We had to explain each time who Liam was. For the most part she remembered most people but by the time our divorce happened she only really remembered her son and Kevin.
As she was not elderly but sick, she was moved from home to home to look after her as she couldn’t care for herself and South Africa did not have many or any facilities that would suit her needs. I don’t know if they have any now. In any case Cosmos was one of the facilities she was placed in.
She died on 2nd July 2001 of pneumonia after suffering a stroke 18 months prior to that. I was not told at the time that she passed away because of the damaging relationship Steven and I had, I presume. I was very fond of her and she always had a smile for me.
When my friend Fiona asked me to donate a spot prize for the Old Age Home her Mom works at, I thought I am sure we can do better than that. Never take the easy way out Wenchy and just grab a bottle from our collection, nooooooo….. A long way into the collecting of the monies stage I eventually put it together that it is the same home Mom Muriel was in for some time. I believed it presented itself as an opportunity to pay it forward, even if it is just the memory of my mom in law. I asked my twitter friends, the blogging and face book and book club communities to please donate R25, most people donated more. THANK YOU!!! I am so thankful that you guys have always opened your hearts and pockets for whatever operation save the world operation I come up with on any given day. THANK YOU. We had to come up with 82 gift packets to be delivered this morning for their Christmas Party.
We got enough monies, and my son Kevin and I went shopping for the goods at Macro which was EXHAUSTING, with Kevin asking random people if they think old people would like such and such. I wanted to kick him but I was too tired. He is a funny lad however. LOL Originally I was just going to buy boxes of Whispers which I accidently sent my requests out with the word Wiskers (Cat Food) and I was tortured with that stupid jokes for awhile LOL. We shall not feed the elderly cat food!!! Somebody suggested there should rather be a variety and so the goodie bag with cracker was born!
This morning, at 6h30 am I handed over 82 packets of goodie bags WITH HUGE THANKS TO ALL WHO CONTRIBUTED and my Kevin who helped me shop and pack. As I sat on the floor packing I kept my thoughts on Granny Muriel and now being ill understanding a small part of how helpless and thankful she must have felt for any small thing that came her way…. I miss holding her hand. She was a special part of the eleven years I was part of the Cadger clan.
I would like to challenge you to look for opportunities to PAY IT FORWARD not just during the festive season but throughout the year.
I wish you enough.
PS. By the way it won’t hurt to subscribe to my blog. 🙂