One of a million memories that continue to flood my days, is the scent of her perfume in the folds of her fur coat beside me in the dentist’s dim waiting room, soothing my four-year-old fear. That was 56 years ago.
12 days ago she stopped breathing. Gently. In her sleep. One moon cycle before her 98th. birthday.
She was ready to go. I was ready to let her go. Peace had long been between our hearts, with mutual forgiveness and appreciation for being the mother she was and the daughter I am. There were enough years and skills for that completion between us on this plane.
She had given me a final gift of waiting for me to travel the miles to say good-bye at her bedside.
Her funeral was graceful.
The sun came out for her burial, after days of wind and rain.
We were held, my remaining brother and I, in the support of people who loved her and love us, some of them up close and some through their words and thoughts from afar. We took the freedom to make use of spiritual rituals that honour and comfort, and to eschew the parts that do otherwise. We created a beautiful eulogy for her. We cried together, for her and for our brother who died too soon, eleven months ago. I wailed alone. It felt good.
Blessed with as much ease as could be wished for at the death of my mother, I didn’t expect bereavement to hit so hard. I wonder how long it will last, this feeling that something has been torn from the cells in the centre of me. Mother’s body is gone. Mine feels the loss.
Side by side with grief is strength, like my mother’s, to go on with the living, doing, growing that remain on my path. As this side of the wave swells, I remember the sound of her hefty laughter after delivering the punch-line of one of her raunchy jokes, reserved for her nearest and dearest once we became of age.
I may always miss you. I will always have you.