Two and a half years ago, I wrote a piece on this blog, ‘We Need to Talk About Rosalind‘, to celebrate the 80th birthday of my mother (aka Mrs F, Rozinoz and, latterly, Rozinozinhoz). It was something of a badge of honour for her that she’d reached that milestone; few in her family had made it to their 70s, and her older sisters, Pat and Valerie, had both died too young.
Well, now I need to talk about Rosalind one last time (though who am I kidding – I’ll never stop talking about her), because, while she insisted on describing herself as “vain, proud and deeply shallow”, she was anything but. Well, maybe she was those, too – but she was also an artist, a cellist, a tennis champion, a company director, a prolific writer, a relentless communicator, and originator of FOMO – “I wouldn’t want to miss anything” forever her mantra. And she never missed a trick, as all who knew her will attest.
The box of her mementos is a distillation of her: photographs meticulously dated on the back (with the occasional barbed comment); fragments of letters and annotations “Never forget you’re unique – just like everyone else”, a quote attributed to a beloved fellow cynic in the UK; a hand-painted Christmas card she’d made for her parents, Barney and Esme; music exam certificates and sketches. Sifting through them, I can smell her – not any particular perfume; just the scent of the Rosalind I remember as a child and will forever miss as an adult.
So, I said much of what I wanted to say about her back then (and you can click on the link above or here if you want to delve deeper) – but I’m also deeply shallow enough to plagiarise myself a little here, happy in the knowledge that I had the chance to say it to her while she was still alive and that, in her own, uniquely Rosalind way, she was happy, too.
Rosalind Ann Feldman, nee Parker, died – held oh-so-tightly in my arms – on Thursday 3rd December, 2015, at St Vincent’s Sacred Heart Hospice in Darlinghurst, after a “bloody, bloody, bloody” five-year illness. She will be missed by many – her two daughters, her nieces, faraway relatives and friends, neighbours and carers.
She was a rapier wit and wily wordsmith, a consummate piss-taker, a jaded TV and film reviewer, a wicked mimic, a cryptic crossworder and stalwart friend. She was her daughters’ most fearsome critic and fiercest defender. She was my hair-monitor, my travel companion, my coffee mate, my eye-catcher in awkward social situations, my blog censor, my eagle-eyed proofreader and my clothes-shopping monitor.
I wrote back then that I wished we could grow old and cranky together. I still wish, wish, wish we could have, because nothing will be the same without her.
Rest in peace, Rosalind, knowing that we’ll be the ones missing out from now on.
27 April 1933 – 3 December 2015