The last time we spoke I struggled to understand your words. A day later you were moved to ICU and two days later you died. But there were other, more important words that passed between us. We spoke often and for that I am grateful. There is a sense of closure in the love we knew we had for each other. I feel remorse at being over 6000km away when you were folding your life away. I wish I could have been there to hold your hand, just once. Sean did that for both of us. I know you would remind me that geography does not alter the state of the soul, that you knew we loved you dearly. We did, do. Now I experience the real cost of migration. You made our leaving easier by supporting it. You were brave that way. I also know it played its part in breaking your heart. What a big heart you had.
I shall visit Sean in April and together we will with care and all the gentleness we can muster, trace your life in the belongings you left behind. There will be letters we wrote to you as children, hand made gifts from your granchildren … you kept everything. Archeology of the soul. Memories will re-establish your beautiful presence and we will cry. We will encounter your absence in every room of the home. We will embrace your presence which is now only found inside of us. It seems darker and roomier inside, colder. I will feed your birds and water your plants and talk to you. We will laugh. In the laughter we will recall one of the finest gifts you ever gave your sons, the ability to find in the bleakest hour of the day a reason to smile.
This was meant to be a letter of thanks and goodbye, some sort of eulogy shared. Like our lives it is imperfect, a poor mirror of the vast emptiness your leaving has left. The words do not express my heart, they never do. At best, all they can do is point towards someone they are trying to embrace and whisper the words one last time, ‘I love you mom’.
p.s. Happy birthday 🙂