She was the kindest, wisest, sanest of us all. But she’s gone. Not in a better place. Just Gone.
It’s ten years ago today that my Mother died after failed heart valve replacement surgery. Four days later on August 21, the date of her funeral, she would have been 74.
I have started to write about this several times before. Each time I have felt inadequate to the task and stopped.
Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars. (Gustave Flaubert)
Today, I felt compelled to write, couldn’t delay longer.
Along with family members, I was at Mum’s bedside when she died, when the ventilator was turned off; I watched the electrical activity of her heart fade on the monitor. In the days that followed, it seemed to me that some fundamental law of nature had altered, as if the universal law of gravitation had changed, or that a new parallel universe had forked from the old, leaving those in the new one behind, forever disconnected from the old.
Midway on our life’s journey, I found myself In dark woods, the right road lost. (Dante)
If even the most deeply religious amongst us were brutally honest, they might admit that a large part of the reason we grieve when someone we love dies is because there is at least the suspicion, deep inside, that they are Just Gone. The extent to which I embraced this, given the lack of evidence to the contrary, was I think directly related to the depth and duration of my grief.
Only someone who has lost a parent (or partner or child or…) can have a hope of understanding what that feels like, just as only a woman can understand what it feels like to give birth.
Even after a decade, although I’ve accepted Mum’s death, she is still in my thoughts at some point of every day. I try to recapture the sound of her voice, her facial expressions, kind, caring, at times whimsical. And yes, I still miss her. The sense of loss reduces over time, but doesn’t leave. Not that I want it to entirely.
I want to tell you about my Mum. In future posts, I will use this space to reflect upon her life and death, but mostly who she was, what she meant to me and to others.