As devastated as I was at the death of my mother on her bed in 1972 in Rosemary’s and my presence in Mexico City I was able to share my grief with my life’s partner. I did not know or think then that on December 9 2020 I would lose that companion or that I would be writing about that today.
Somehow I have now been thinking a lot about my mother. It distractd me from my daily and constant grief over Rosemary and especially as the evening progresses.
I have been reading my mother’s poems daily. It is a sad sight to see how her lovely handwriting begins to deteriorate in the few poems she wrote in 1972.
But this writing is a happy one. I wrote in this blog that I did not know why Rosemary and I gave my mother’s bound poetry book the title Things and Thoughts. Last night I read the poem with that title that you will find below.
The three initials stand for Filomena de Irureta Goyena. When she married my divorced father she was not allowed to have his name. Only when she taught in schools did she add de Hayward skipping the complicated Waterhouse.
She mentions three objects. I never saw this poem while she was alive and she never told me about that candlestick. But the shell with the two embedded pearls I have had all these years. I gave it to my Lillooet, BC daughter Alexandra. Of the fan I wrote about it here.
It is amazing how through reading a dead loved one’s poems, how much I lost (but now gained) in not asking questions.
The Eugenie in the poem was:
Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena of Battenberg (24 October 1887 – 15 April 1969) was Queen of Spain as the wife of King Alfonso XIII from their marriage on 31 May 1906 until 14 April 1931, when the Spanish Second Republic was proclaimed. A Hessian princess by birth, she was a member of the Battenberg family, a morganatic branch of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt. She was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Unlike other members of the Battenberg family, who were accorded the lower rank of Serene Highness, Victoria Eugenie was born with the rank of Highness due to a Royal Warrant issued in 1886 by Queen Victoria.
Where do I keep that fan?
My grandmother who lived in Valencia, Sevilla, Madrid, Manila, the Bronx, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Veracruz spoke of all those places with delight but I never had a sense that she felt she belonged to any of them. She had moved too many times. “Her two “camphor babies” were her home,” my mother used to say. These were intricately carved chests that traveled with her since the early 30s. The two chests are in my living room and they are a constant reminder of the only grandmother I ever knew and loved. Inside those chests are a collection of Spanish fans, shawls, my Mappin & Web birth spoon and other mementos of the life of my grandmother, grandfather, my mother and me.