Is it possible to have a year of winters?  What if you have lived in tropical or semi-tropical weather for most of your life and then are plunged into cold, unforgiving winters repeated in one continent after another?

That was my 2011.

The winter began in Kansas City.  Or rather in Nairobi, Kenya in February 2011 when I got a phone call from my sister in Kansas City. My mother was admitted to hospital.  They sent her home, because they could not help her.

As quickly as possible I flew to Kansas City.  Winter visible from the air – ice and snow all around and on the runways..  Never mind.  I was not equipped for winter but I had only one goal in mind.. to get to my mother as soon as possible.

She was in bed.  In her house.  With private nursing care.  She greeted me and then asked : Do you think you can take care of me?  Yes, Mom.  I can.  I will. 

Outside, ice, snow, cold, but I hardly noticed.  My mom was leaving us so fast.  Every day another system failed.  I focussed on her.  Listening to her breathing through the monitor all night long.  Running to her side with every change in her breath.

She left us quickly. By March 1 she was gone.

I stayed in her house. As long as I was there I felt her presence.  I saw all of the many remembrances of her life and travels in Mexico, Africa, Europe and USA.  The paintings, arts and crafts… she was all around me.

But so was the cold, harsh weather.  I wore her  winter jacket and her gloves to keep warm.

I returned to Oakland California. After an emergency operation for appendicitis and a rather slow recovery,  I was off to Australia to visit my younger son Gabriel.  My mom wanted me to spend Christmas 2010 with Gabriel but it was not possible due to a visit to Australia by his father. (We were divorced many years ago).  I wanted to fulfil  her wish that I visit Gabriel as soon as possible.

Bette Silver with grandson Gabriel, Berkeley CA 2004

June 2011 Winter in Canberra, Australia.  Mild but colder than usual.  Morning frost most days.  Unusually cold according to locals.

Pamela, winter, Canberra, Australia wearing Bette Silver's jacket

August 2011 On to Nairobi, Kenya. Winter.  Also mild, but colder and rainier than usual.

November 2011 Oakland California, Winter. Chilly. Cloudy..

I who had prided myself on always living in “good” (that is not cold) weather by choice.  Now I had one winter after another.

Finally I thought, December in Australia, to spend Christmas with my younger son Gabriel… It should be very warm and sunny.  But… it was not… chilly, cloudy and rainy although the sun often broke through.

2011 drawing to a close.

Back in Oakland California for the last 3 days of 2011.  Winter again.

Balloons, Memorial for Bette Silver, 13 March 2011, Winter, Kansas City MO

 Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York

                              William Shakespeare Richard III, 1594