I saw Sam's post today (at A New Frame of Reference blog) where she posted pictures of her autumn decorations on the mantelpiece, and seeing the word "mantel" took me back to a funny incident when Jordan was pretty young. I commented on Sam's blog that while it's great for kids to be bilingual, when they're young they don't often have the more extensive vocabulary of non-bilingual children because they're obviously dealing with more than one language. Anyway, one time Jordan asked me where my car keys were, and I told him "on the mantel". So he went inside, only to come out a few minutes later and say "mommy, what's a mantel"? And it kinda brought home to me how much we take for granted in our daily language! I mean, with my friends, if I can't think of an English word I just throw in the French word and (most) everyone gets it. For instance, "the basement" is never "the basement", it's pretty much always "la cave". I suppose you get lazy but I remember hearing my sister and her family doing the same thing once when they came over from Denmark - it was very much bastardized English! Anyway, I was talking to my Welsh friend about this one time and she recalled an occasion when her girls were quite young and one of them wanted to go to the toilet in the restaurant. R called out to her to "remember to pull the chain" - and her daughter had no idea what she was talking about! I mean, seriously, how long have flush toilets been around? I think she might have been showing her age there, don't you! Anyway, all that nonsense is just to say it's odd what pops into your brain sometimes, isn't it!
On the "good" side, Switzerland held a referendum on same-sex marriage on Sunday and voted overwhelmingly in favour! Way to go Switzerland - a tad late perhaps, but better late than never eh!
Then yesterday as I was taking my rubbish down to the local bins I bumped into Stan's wife, Martine. She had her four-year old grandson with her and it was the first time I'd ever met him. By golly he's a handsome lad, just like his dad, Samuel (who hopefully will be representing Nigeria in the cross-country skiing in the next winter Olympics)! When I asked how Stan was she told me that he was here in France but not doing too well as "his leukemia isn't going well"!!!! Say what, Stan has leukemia????? Damn! Apparently he'd been hospitalized in Nigeria but was now back home in France with his family but not doing too well. He's an absolute ox of a man and the thought of him struggling to deal with leukemia is, frankly, unthinkable! But then I remembered about 15 years ago where he had regularly-programmed 24-hour stints in hospital for them to give him blood transfusions "to help his white blood cell count". When I asked him what it was for he was very vague, but damn, I never saw him being this ill! So I told her while I'll obviously not go anywhere near him, if and when he's feeling a little better and wants to have a natter, maybe I could come up to their garden gate and have a chat if he's up for it - or maybe I could Facetime him, even though he only lives about 100 metres from me. We'll see how it goes, but fingers crossed for my mate Stan!
And then today I received the bloody awful news about sweet C! I had known C since the day she was recruited maybe 25 years ago because of working in HR, of course, and while she wasn't a friend we would often chat if we happened to be walking down from the parking lot together. I also knew - as did most people - that she was mentally fragile! Anyway, when I left HR and moved to the same division as her, C was very kind and helpful to me because I hadn't got a clue what I was doing. Oh she could be a bit "dippy" sometimes, in a fun way, but I swear she never had a mean bone in her body!
Anyway, a friend sent me a message the other day to say that her children and the gendarmerie had sent out a communication asking if people had seen her because she had disappeared from home on 18 September having left both her handbag and phone behind (according to her children)! Then today there was an article in the newspaper to say that her car had gone over a ravine "as the result of an accident which occurred on 25 September" and C was dead!!! Thankfully no-one else was involved, but I can't get my mind round the fact that if she disappeared on 18 September and the accident happened on 25 September where on earth was she during the intervening week? My hope was that she had been taken ill and ended up in hospital, and with no ID on her they hadn't been able to trace her family. Or I guess the accident could have happened on the day she disappeared and had only been discovered on 25th! Will her family ever get to know? She was 57 years old but I picture her in my mind at around 45 because that's about the age she looked to me. She was sweet and kind and I wish so much she hadn't gone like that. Her poor family - and poor sweet C! RIP hon!
I'm sorry to hear if your friends. It makes us pause to think how lif can change. Your story if the mantel was sweet.ReplyDelete
Life can indeed change on a dime - but I guess it's all the more frequent as you get older also, isn't it!Delete
:( I hope Stan recovers, and poor C. Was she having memory loss issues? Maybe she forgot the handbag and phone, and then was just driving around? But how did she eat for the almost week she disappeared? :( Sigh, life!ReplyDelete
I realize now that Stan has had health issues for years but I'm hoping he's got many more years ahead of him. He and his little café here in the village were quite the institution. As for C, who knows. I only know that her struggles were years, if not decades long!Delete
Way to go Switzerland!!!!ReplyDelete
Indeed. They put everything to the people's vote and while they will never be the front runners on these kinds of issues I guess they get there eventually and it really is DEMOCRATICALLY resolved - as opposed to some countries I could think of!Delete
It's awful when you get so much bad news, particularly of the kind in ref. to C. It's all too easy to create situations in your head about it and get bogged down with what ifs and maybes. I think these things make you evaluate your own life. It's all too easy to forget to be grateful for every day we have isn't it. I hope Sam manages to win his battle. Take care, sending you a wee hug. xReplyDelete
Some people say you shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but frankly I have no problem calling a spade a spade. In C's case though, she really was a sweet, gently soul and her death has come as a shock to everyone!Delete
I’m so sorry to hear about C’s death,it’s very sad and so hard for all her family and friends. I hope Sam’s treatment goes well too and he’s soon fighting fit. We don’t know what’s around the corner for us and we are so lucky that we and our families are well at this point with all that’s been going on for the last year and a half.ReplyDelete
I love your mantel story. Language is so funny . I remember referring to the main light in our living room as ‘the big light’ and water was always ‘corporation pop’ when I was a girl. My kids would no idea what I was on about.
Stan has been well looked after, both in Nigeria and here, thankfully, but I suspect this has been going on much longer than I realized! Fingers crossed for him. And I love your "corporation pop" story. It's a bit like my mom giving directions and telling me to "turn at the house that used to be green"!Delete
It does sound like Stan has been dealing with this for quite some time. I remember you talking about him. I really hope that they can help him live longer. He sounds like such a fine man.ReplyDelete
And C. Wow. What a tragedy. We can never really know what anyone else is going through, can we? A good reminder to be kind to everyone.
Thinking back to Stan's stays in hospital talking about "transfusions" and "white blood cells" sent up a red flag for me, but he was always just Stan, strong as an ox and easygoing as anything. I know if he feels better he will stop by for a natter so maybe I'll find out more then, but I really am crossing my fingers and toes for him as I am so very, very fond of him! As for C, well she has been vulnerable for years, if not decades, but what a sad end for such a lovely person!Delete
We just had an associate die from undiagnosed leukemia, a man who had numerous symptoms but who never went to see a doctor about them because... well, he always had an excuse.ReplyDelete
As for C, people with a fragile mental state quite often make choices that will only make sense to them and no one else.
Stan did seem to be following it up, now that I look back at it, and had wonderful treatment in both Nigeria and here. I just hope he can pull through this as he has been a friend for almost 30 years! As for C, we don't know what happened but you're right, when people are very fragile, in the moment they can make choices that they maybe wouldn't have otherwise. Poor C, she really was a sweetheart!Delete
oh poor Stan! and that is so sad about your friend C. I was thinking the same thing while reading, where was she that week. And if she was leaving in her car why leave without your pocketbook and phone? So sad.ReplyDelete
I guess C's story might come out eventually. Whatever happened it is very, very sad. Neither she nor her children should have to go through that!Delete
I am sorry about both of your friends.ReplyDelete
My hope is for Stan's medical team to find a solution that works for him.
I am so sorry about your work associate. That is so sad.
I'm wondering now how long Stan has been sick. Of course spending most of his retired time in Nigeria I don't see him like I used to, but I'm hoping either he comes here or I can go over there for a chat if/when he feels better!Delete
Sometimes you can feel very removed from the tragedies of others and then somebody you know is affected and all of a sudden you realise how close at hand such instances are and how helpless you are in preventing them. I'm sure, however, that Stan will enjoy your chats over the gate when he's able.ReplyDelete
You're right, you can feel removed from other's tragedies because you don't know them, or only know them a little. Occasionally I see something that stops me in my tracks (I kept a picture of two little children in Syria because THAT was what brought home to me the atrocities going on there), but when it hits closer to home I guess it makes me realize how time has flown by and I'm not young any more so I need to be grateful for everything and everyone in my life right now!Delete
I think you need to get in touch with Stan, if he plays his cards close to his chest and there's now a public acknowledgement that he's ill.....well I don't want to bring doom.ReplyDelete
I guess C was worn down after probably a lifetime of mental illness. How terribly sad.
I think you're right on both counts sadly, Kylie!Delete