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!