Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Monday, 20 January 2014


Today, exactly a week ago, my mother received some bad news. Her one and only brother had passed away at the age of almost 87. Although his health had been failing since last summer, the announcement came as a shock. I'm very grateful to my cousin who had the delicacy to come over with her husband to bring the sad news, instead of just picking up the phone.

After my husband's and my father's,

there is yet another empty chair at the dinner table.

My mother was very touched by this gesture and somehow comforted by the news that her brother's last words had been for her. Although they hadn't seen each other for 2 or even 3 years, they were very close and exchanged letters and phone calls whenever they had the opportunity and my uncle was up to it.

Unfortunately, my mother couldn't attend the funeral, but she wrote a nice card to her sister-in-law and her godchild. One of the things that upset her was the fact that there are now only 12 people left in Belgium carrying the same family name. My mother has a very unusual name, which requires spelling whenever someone wants to write it down. I only have two male cousins. The youngest has two daughters, and so the family name stops there. The eldest has two sons, who somehow don't seem to be in a hurry to get married or start a family.

Although Belgian law on surnames has recently changed, giving mothers the right to pass on their surname on their children, most families stick to tradition which implies that babies take on their father's family name. 


chm said...

I'm sorry to hear about the passing of your uncle. Please yourself and your mother accept my most sincere condolences. At our age it seems to be easier to recover for such bad news than it is when younger, but still I am with your mother on this.

On a brighter note, I love the reflection on the wall.

GaynorB said...

Sad news for your family, Martine. I was moved by the empty chair expression.

Nadege said...

I am so sorry Martine! The chair reflection on the wall is really powerful as I can feel the sadness for the loss of your uncle.

Jean said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of your uncle, Martine.
Having also lost my aunt at about the same time I know how it feels.
One can feel rather bruised when the older generation disappear from our lives, one by one. After a while the happy memories take over but I feel for you and your mother when the loss is still quite raw. It's a shame she was unable to attend the funeral.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Condolences to your mother, you aunt, and you, Martine. What a distressing start to the new year.

VirginiaC said...

Martine, I'm so sorry to hear this sad both have my heartfelt sympathy.

Anonymous said...

Our condolences, Martine.

I like your evocative photo of the empty chair.

Carolyn said...

Martine, my earlier comment came up as Anonymous. You and your mother have our condolences. I will be thinking of you.


Anonymous said...

Very sad news for you and your mother Martine, please accept my sincere sympathy.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

So sorry to hear the news.

I am also the last of our line in the family. My parents were both only children as I am.

Have a good day Diane.

ladybird said...

Dear friends, On behalf of my mother: Thank you for your condolences and kind words. We were both really touched and grateful. I hope that, from now on, the new year only has good tidings in store for for all of us! Martine

Louise said...

Martine, I'm afraid I have only just read this sad news...please accept my most sincere condolences and pass on same to your mother. With my thoughts and best wishes, Louise

ladybird said...

Louise, Thank you for you kind words, on behalf of my mother and myself.