Well, it’s been a while. I have only written two blog posts this year.
Why? Mainly because my cartooning has taken over as my main form of tea-related expression.
But now that is also on hold.
Because I’m about to undergo a life-changing event.
As I write this, I am very lucky. I am 56 years old, and I have two living parents. I reckon that’s pretty good. Heck, I even have a grandmother still with us, most days.
As you read this, that statement is no longer true.
In June this year, our family got the news that my mother was dying of cancer. A particularly nasty and savage one. As I write this, her continued life is a day-to- day proposition, I will not publish this until it is over.
My parents live 500 kilometres away from where I live in the state capital,. A few weeks ago, Mum got flown by Royal Flying Doctor Service to the main hospital here to get a pacemaker. She had a number of complications, but it all happened in the end.
And then, as she was recovering, the news came that she has weeks or a couple of months to live.
Right. deep breath.
I have a new grandchild, and Elias had never met his great-grandmother. A few phone calls, and it was organised – a family get together the next day at my brother’s house, and a surprise baby visit.
While still in shock, the day was as pleasant as it could be. However, I noticed what my mother was drinking. She’s not able to tolerate caffeine any more, and she has found – by all that’s holy, I could not make this up- Twinning’s Chamomile and Spiced Apple.
Look, Mum’s perennial insistence on drinking foul cheap black teab*gs has always been a source of great shame for me, but this really takes the cake. So I decided to do something about it.
READER ADVICE : SIT DOWN. TAKE A FEW BREATHS. MAKE SURE SOMEONE IS WITH YOU.
ARE YOU READY? HOLD ON TIGHT…
I manufactured some chamomile-based teab*gs.
Yes, I did.
Not like Twinings. Not some dry, dusty crap. No “Apple flavouring”. No sir-ee.
I took plump, good quality Egyptian Chamomile from a fresh bag (I have it on hand for my blending classes). I dried some golden delicious apples in my dehydrator, cut them into tiny, tiny cubes and rolled them in cinnamon and cloves. And I artfully added some lovely Australian Cinnamon Myrtle.
Then I scooped about 4g each into 23 unbleached tea filter bags and tied on a string.
So it turns out that no matter how cherished a tea-based belief is, no matter how much I might have written 400+ blog posts with a very strident anti-teab*g, chamomile-is-awful theme running consistently through, as a human being I have the right to completely and utterly change my mind on everything under the right circumstances. Or even circumstances that feel very wrong
I flew back to the home town and took them – along with a dozen free-range eggs from our chickens, no easy task on a plane – and let’s cut to the chase – she loved them. However, she was not always coherent, so I consider myself fortunate to have seen and heard this.
The next day as I was about to go, I told her she had 21 left and would be happy to make some more. She told me not to make too many as she only had a couple of months to live.
What the hell do you say to that? I reassured her that I would be happy to keep making them if she was happy to keep living.
I did not make any more.
That was our last conversation in person.
In a pandemic with 4 million dead, there are many more stories of greater hardship than mine. My family set up a cycle of visits and every close relative that was able to travel did so. The last one travelled up last Monday.
In the early hours of Wednesday, July 21 she slipped away from us.
(Elizabeth) Anne Godden (nee Jacobs)