Happy Ed Balls Day! (Krissie)

There’s a reason so many romance writers and readers are Anglophiles.  Yesterday was #Ed Balls Day, an unofficial national holiday in England.  Five ago a luddite British politician accidentally tweeted his own name, Ed Balls, and nothing else, and of course Twitter in England went wild.  People do all sorts of ridiculous things to honor it (Domino’s in the UK had pizza balls with his face on it) and in general have a good time. I do love the British.  http://mashable.com/2016/04/28/ed-balls-day-2016/#YZuYWd4LFiqT

Unfortunately for me, April 28th has another meaning.  It was the day my sister Taffy died, just a few days short of her 65th birthday.  I’d even gotten her an iPod Nano with her name and “happy 65th” on it.  This followed the death of my father at 58, my nephew (Taffy’s son) at 18, my adopted-away niece (Taffy’s other daughter) at 37, and my brother at 40.  This left me with our problematic mother — Taffy and I used to say “don’t you dare die and leave me with her.”  I know Taffy is still chortling that she did.

It wasn’t necessarily a bad day for Taffy — she died peacefully in her sleep, her last act was to smoke a little weed, and she wanted to be reunited with her son.  She didn’t particularly want to die (I kept razzing her about her health) but she always said not to worry because she’d be perfectly happy to be back with him.  She didn’t want to leave her daughter (Mini-me) but she was good with what fate handed her.

My son is still torn up about it, seven years later, because she filled a spot in his life that no one else did.  She also smoked weed with him when he was young, and it’s a good thing I didn’t know about it or she would have died even younger (grrr).  But mostly we’ve simply made room in our hearts for the sadness that always linger (though in our family the dead take up a lot of room).

Every year us few remaining would call each other on the anniversary of deaths and bring flowers and find some way to mark it.  I would find myself getting depressed as the time neared, remembering all the grief. But as the years passed we decided we should celebrate their lives, not their deaths.  In fact, six weeks before Taffy died I brought her flowers on the anniversary of Stuart’s death (her 18 year old son) and she said she was now going to mark

 

his birthday instead.  (I also told her about falling off the rolling walker I was using in the store and being unable to get up and me crying and the girl behind the counter crying, which in retrospect we both found hysterically funny).

I talked with Mini-me and my son yesterday, and didn’t say anything about the date.  But reading about Ed Balls this morning, it gave me a new attitude.  Life is about the ridiculous.  Life is ridiculous – there’s no rhyme or reason.  There’s actually as much joy as there is pain – my fall in the store ended up being funnier than sad.  It’s all in how you look at things.

So from now on April 28th is not the day I lost my sister.  May 11th is the day she was born (four years before I came along and ruined her life) and April 28th is Ed Balls Day.

So to you and all your loved ones, Happy Ed Balls Day!

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14 thoughts on “Happy Ed Balls Day! (Krissie)

  1. Happy Ed Balls day to you too! I’m currently working on edits for a Brit story so I got lost following your link, then clicked on a few related videos, then researched the best way to make a bacon buttie, whew! Now I’m back. 🙂

    Your thoughts on celebrating the birthdays of your loved ones is brilliant. Very healthy, I think.

    • Bridget says:

      My sister & I celebrate both. Mainly by saying Happy Dead Celie Day (frex) and then Happy Dead Celie’s birthday. (The dates are one month apart.

      We used to go out to dinner but I work late and she doesn’t like driving at night so we’ve cut back the celebration.

      But it’s a time to tell funny stories and remind the best of the deceased.

      (My bil is freaked out by the conversation so I don’t think he realizes it we do the same thing for his mom. whoops.)

  2. Lynda says:

    Love the picture! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photograph of your brother before. Astonishing how much you all look alike. You and Taffy could be twins.

    I don’t celebrate death anniversaries, although I’m certainly aware of them. Invariably there comes a point when I’m by myself that I break into ugly, painful sobs, and I just go with it till the grief expends itself. Then I get on with my day. I honestly don’t know how often other people in the family recall the exact dates, although I assume they probably do, but I only mention them if somebody else brings up the subject. I always figure that if other people don’t remember the day, why should I make them sad by bringing it up? I know some people don’t understand. Once I overheard my mother-in-law accuse Larry of not grieving for our son, and when he protested that that was not true, she exclaimed, “But you never TALK about him!” That was bullshit, of course, but she was a believer in sharing everything, big or small, and she never could understand my preference for privacy.

    I prefer to remember birthdays. As it happens, our youngest granddaughter was born on Larry’s birthday, which makes it easy to celebrate. (Coincidentally the date was also Larry’s grandmother’s birthday, so now I joke that in forty or fifty years, maybe Victoria will have a grandchild of her own born on that day.) Last month would have been Marshall’s 48th birthday, and I’ll admit that it’s hard to imagine my firstborn as a middleaged man. But I keep reminding myself how proud he would be of his own son, who now has two sons of his own, each named after the grandfather who would have absolutely adored them.

    Oh, well. Sometimes life is hard. Happy Ed Balls Day! I’d never heard of it before. Sounds like a good day.

  3. JenniferNennifer says:

    In my family, we tend to do our rememberances tied to things that happen, rather than dates….. someone gets a great deal on a great coat and my sister and I say “Mama would have been thrilled!” I think this makes it easier to connect to the happies, and less to the sads – a small benefit to being bad with dates!

  4. Kelly S. says:

    I’ve lost three grandparents and 2 very dear friends. I don’t know their birth or death dates. I’m comfortable in knowing I’ll see them when I die. Of course there are times I remember them, but more like JenniferNennifer.

    I am happy to read that you are switching to remember birthdays instead of death dates. It seems so much more positive and healthy!

  5. Actually in two cases I don’t deliberately don’t remember the day. My father died on election day in 1970 (he was 58) and I was in such shock I never paid attention. My brother died on the 17th or 18th of August, 1994, and despite the many many times I’ve been to his grave (it’s just around the lake) I refuse to let it into my mind. Unfortunately Stuart’s and Taffy’s dates are engrained, possibly from others’ grief.
    One problem is that if I’m prepared for it to be a bad day it often isn’t bad at all. If I’ve girded my loins to weep and be depressed I end up doing okay. It’s when it hits me out of the blue that it’s hard. I used to get depressed every August and it took a year or two for me to figure out why. August has a lot of “tells” around here – it’s a month with a very individual feel, weather, etc. and those were subconsciously triggering me. So now, even without knowing the date, I just sort of give myself a pass if I have a bad day. Maybe I should make an effort to remember the actual day so I can celebrate Ed Balls?
    Naah.

    • Kelly S. says:

      I do have other moments where the date does stick in my head and those experiences will smack me around on occasion. Weirdly not necessarily on the date that the event occurred.

      I also suspect I will take it harder when it is someone who is daily in my life – my husband or cats – who pass.

      I used to cry when coworkers would quit and leave. I suspect this makes me selfish because I’m basically only concerned with how it affects me. I’m mourning my loss instead of being happy for them. It’s something I’ve gotten better at over the years.

  6. German Chocolate Betty says:

    My first husband was 58 when he died in 1999. Tomorrow (May 1st ) would have been his 75 th birthday. I have long since (9 years after his death) remarried, but sometimes I really really miss him so badly. This year October he will have been gone 17 years and somehow it doesn’t seem possible, although I have been with my second husband now over 10 years. Two parallel lives, particularly weird because I know the two would have definitely not liked each other (and not because I was in the middle but rather because they are/were such completely different personalities).

    How odd life is.

  7. Jill says:

    I keep dates of death on my calendar-my parents, in laws, dear friends, not my brothers though. I look at the date and remember the good times and not the grief . At least I try to concentrate on the good.

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