Saturday, 23 March 2013
In late 1992, Queen Elizabeth II described the closing year as an "annus horribilis" meaning a very horrible year.
So far, I'm seeing 2013 as my personal annus horribilis, although it is only late March and I have not yet lost all hope of turning things around.
Queen Elizabeth used the phrase in a speech, saying: "1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis."
A lot of very unpleasant things happened to the queen that year which led to that quote: several of her children endured very public marital breakdowns, and one of the queen's homes, Windsor Castle, caught fire causing seriously damage.
But I believe I can relate to her misery.
In mid-February, we were told that my 87-year-old mother's lingering stomach problems were due to an aggressive cancerous tumour growing beneath her liver, cutting off its functions. The prognosis? Terminal.
I wanted to rush to see her while I still could - but I was having my own stomach horribilis and for a month, could barely drink water or stand upright.
When that finally settled in early March, I rushed to Alberta. My brother Noel, at the same time, was arranging his flight from his home in the San Francisco Bay area. A few days later, his partner called. Noel's trip was cancelled because he had been diagnosed with liver cancer.
One week later, as we were helping Mom make her final arrangements, my brother died.
Mom is now in hospice care and, having written Noel's obituary, I'm now turning my attention to writing one for my mother. I will have some time to work on it, although the lesson from my brother is not to take time for granted.
I'm preparing for my mother's end and although I returned to Rome from Canada just four days ago, I'm looking into flights to Calgary again. Not a pleasant task.
But spring is arriving, the cherry blossoms are coming out, and I'm praying that there might still be some way to turn around 2013, from this present annus horribilis to an "annus mirabilis": a wonderful year.
BTW, the photos is of a cherry tree in blossom at the EUR park in south Rome.