Sunday, 3 December 2017

The fourth anniversary....

Ali in Montreal, Canada, Dec 2007
Throughout the year, I am conscious of various anniversaries occurring - 10 years since I did something with Ali or 25 years since we went somewhere, and so on.  Sometimes I thought of writing a post about the various anniversaries, but then decided to remember them privately. The fourth anniversary of Ali's death, however, requires a post.

On this day ten years ago, 3 December 2007,  Ali and I left Toronto, Canada, where she had spoken at an international symposium of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.  As we left Toronto it began to snow and conditions became treacherous as we drove to Ottawa, and then on to Montreal before heading back to Toronto and Niagara Falls.  

If I were to think hard I would recall that the trip had its share of difficulties for Ali.  Travelling was always difficult for her; she would have pain and nausea, and get tired easily. This trip was so cold too!  But it is hard to  remember those difficulties now.  All I can recall is the joy of being with Ali and the delight she would take in the people she met and the places she visited.  She delighted too in the foolhardiness of trying to get around cities built up with snow which were increasingly difficult for a wheelchair user to navigate.

There are many serious things to be written about Ali - but when I think of her it is the silly things and the joy that come to mind first.  Inevitably, recent weeks and days have brought to mind those momentous weeks and days of four years ago.   Ali died as she lived,  and it seems fitting to remember her life today and not only her death.  May her life continue to inspire others to live well and to seek the eternal truths and the eternal life that she sought.

Addressing the international symposium on euthanasia, Toronto Dec. 2007
With her good friend Brad Mattes of Life Issues Institute
Yes, that's a large Christmas tree!
Ottawa. Where did we park the car?
At Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral,  Montreal
An icy Niagara Falls
Ali with a friend.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Wimbledon 1992

Ali at Wmbledon on 22 June 1992, with her bear Julian.

On this day 25 years ago, 22 June 1992,  Ali and I were at Wimbledon to see the tennis.  Ali had already been to Wimbledon several times, but it was my first time.

One of Ali's bears, called Julian, spent 50 weeks of the year sitting quietly on top of a bookcase in Ali's bedroom.  However, during Wimbledon fortnight he was always to be found in the living room, sitting in front of the television, so that he could watch all the tennis (!)  I cannot recall how he developed such a love of the game, but it was natural that he came with us - in 1992 and in subsequent years -  when we went to Wimbledon.

On that first occasion, we had only a ground pass which enabled us to see matches on the outside courts.   When I discovered that Ali's favourite player, Boris Becker, was about to play on centre court, I somehow managed to talk our way onto that court to see him play.

Ali was pleased to have a ring-side seat to watch Boris....

Ali (back of head, on left) watching Boris Becker
Boris Becker on centre court

.....and also very happy to meet him afterwards:
Ali with Boris

Of course, when considering whether Julian or Boris should get top billing here, it was easily game, set and match to the bear!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Birthday remembrances

8 January 2002
Ali's birthday 15 years ago on which she was "well and truly garlanded!"
Today is the 62nd anniversary of Ali's birth.  When I think back on her birthdays I recall, above all, the birthdays she celebrated in India. We were there for two weeks each January between 2001 and 2006, visiting the projects for disabled children funded by the charity Ali had founded. Sometimes we were there just after her birthday and on those occasions we celebrated while we were there, but on a slightly later date.

On the back of the photo shown above Ali wrote the date and "Ali well and truly garlanded!"  If the truth be told she found all the attention given to her on her birthday a little excessive and embarrassing, but she knew that the children greatly enjoyed the festivities and so she was happy for their sake. There was a large 'function' in her honour on the night of her birthday, at which the children would perform songs, dances and plays that they had spent weeks and months rehearsing.  It was an evening of high spirits and enjoyment for them.

8 Jan 2002: A group dance by some of the girls
8 Jan 2002:  Boys who cannot walk dancing while seated
8 Jan 2002: A drama performed by some of the girls

Above all, Ali was happy just to be with the children, whom she loved with a mother's passion, and who called her "Mummy Alison."

8 Jan 2002:  Ali with many of the children

Jan 2002:  Ali with Lakshmi, Nagalakshmi and Anuradha

Jan 2002:  Ali with Santhi and Parvati