Wednesday, 8 February 2012

54 Year Anniversary Post


February 8th, and apart from being 2 days after my beautiful son's birthday, my parents would now have been married for 54 years.

The emotion I felt this morning in the pre-dawn, travelling to work, was like treacle - heavy, sweet and a little nauseating. My parents had, on the whole, a good marriage. My Dad's family - fully Scots, and - dare I say it? - somewhat inbred, were not ecstatic at his union with my exotic, not-quite-purely European-looking Mum. Today, it's the provenance of my Mum's family which has cost me the most effort but also provided the greatest rewards, in dialoguing with my Ancestors.

Mum, with her dead-straight brown hair and hazel eyes, would probably have been labelled Cape Malay by race-obsessed South Africans of today, but allowed as "White" by the politics of those times. She was also small and slight. One of my brother's 9-year-old school friends hit the nail on the head when he told us "Your Mum looks like a China-woman".

Yet my brother and I were, willy-nilly, raised and encultured as European, despite the hardy strain of out-breeding our mother inevitably brought to the McKay-Anderson clan.

The marriage of my mother and my father seems, today, almost fairytale-like: that is, sweet, romantic and with a grisly twist. Those two genuinely loved each other, and loved each other unto death. Dad experienced the horror of his beloved's living death to Alzheimer's, and nursed her until her soul fully fled her body. It was an unbelievably dark time, those last few years - a time in which my own soul up and left, too, in fragments, culminating in the deeply instructive shamanic dismemberment about a year after Mum's final departure.

For all that my father, my son and myself suffered during those latter years, there is a pink sentimental aura over most of the 40-odd years I was privileged to share my parents' lives, around the edges.

Every year on his birthday, my Mum would make for Dad his favourite confection - lemon meringue pie - and every year, on her birthday, he would strive as men do to find some suitably pleasing present (this, for a woman who cared little for jewelry, cosmetics or perfumes) and accompany it with a card assuring his 'kitten' of his undying love.

Of course, I was merely an outside witness to this love - this love which has deeply influenced my own take on what that most essential of human emotions means - but I nevertheless feel honoured and a little better than I could otherwise have been for having experienced it.

Happy Anniversary, John Ramsay Anderson and Yvonne Mavis Banning. I trust fully that your story continues outside of this mortal plane.