Every year in mid-May my sister used to start telling us how many days there were til her birthday, and suggest, not so subtly, that if we hadn’t yet purchased something we should probably get on to it. After she died I started using her mobile phone, I switched the sim cards, but her reminders were saved on her phone, so I kept getting her reminders for the birthdays of all her friends. I even got a reminder about her birthday in the middle of the night a week or so before the day that year. I have no idea why she put a reminder in her phone for her own birthday but I was very pleased to get it.

Vietnamese mint

For the first few Christmases, birthdays and anniversaries it seemed a little strange to have extra attention paid to my grief and, although I knew it wasn’t intended that way, it sometimes felt as if I was supposed to be sad on those days, and not on others. As it happened I was more likely to tear up while walking through the uni noticing the undergrads drinking beer, when Tripod came on the radio, or in the presence of a good Vietnamese takeaway (hence the Vietnamese mint above) than I was on the special occasions. I tear up when the lad says, exactly the way she did as a toddler, “What are we doing today?” and wonder if the phrase is somehow genetic.

Anyway, tomorrow Cazz ought to have been 23, but she isn’t. I remembered without any reminders at all.

Cazz and beads

I’ve been looking for a decent photo of her. One that she wouldn’t have minded me posting on the internet, one with hair and without the radiotherapy skin, but I don’t have any, I didn’t have a camera then. So now there are two photos of Cazz on the intertubes and she doesn’t have any hair in the other one either. I like this one (and the other one, for that matter) because even when she wasn’t allowed out of that room, most days there was still a total and utter determination to hang on to the things that were there in spite of the cancer. Musician, songwriter, jewllery maker, friend, aunty, basketball player and architecture student.

But not gardener. She had no interest in gardening innercity or otherwise.

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