Memories of Mum and Mortality
My Mum is gone
She was ready for that final journey in 2009.
Whispering the 23rd Psalm…
The hospital cubicle a confessional box
as she relived the memory
of holding her dying father in teenage arms.
Mum retold the story,
assured us that a welcome
She was ready to go –
but we were not.
Surely, a broken hip can be repaired?
Hopeful adult children huddled beside
Grandchildren. And friends.
With hearts numbed
Fearing the loss of Mum, ‘The Nana,’
Fearing a fractured future…
And the world hasn’t been the same.
I miss our chats
The wisdom of eight decades and more.
I ache to hear familiar laughter –
infectious chuckling and girlish giggle.
Laughter that appreciated farce
Eccentricity and spoonerisms.
Dad’s Army a favourite
Relief that darkness never lasts.
I long to hear the wise sayings
The knowledgeable ‘aye’ at the end
or beginning of conversations.
I miss those all-seeing eyes –
blue-grey pools with new shamrock pupils
eyesight saved when young. Later
destroyed by disease and old age.
I’ll always weep whenever I hear
In the mirror, I see you, Mum
and a glimpse of what lies ahead
But I need you here now –
To tell me you love me
And that I’ll cope
If the future strips me of sight.
It is already stealing my hearing…
Dad joked your hearing aids tuned into Mars.
Will I learn selective deafness?
Mum, I hope you knew
how much you were loved.
That you hear how softer our voices
become when you are mentioned.
You hear the chuckles
as we enjoy remembrances
No anger fans flames in my heart
No resentment or accusations of neglect
Only a deep longing for what is lost
I may be child number four
but always felt number one
I want to hold Mum’s hand once more
Caress the papyrus skin
traverse blue-veined ridges
Try and stem the tears as I remember
The cuddles when I was sick
The courage when I was scared
The cooking when I was hungry
The cleaning, shopping, and encouraging
The relentless mothering…
When it is my time to leave this world
I hope my daughters are by my side,
Listening as I retell the story
of the night my mother said goodbye.
Of how I held her in my arms
thanked her for a legacy of love…
Cherishing a library of family stories
I hope to be peaceful and calm
in the knowledge a welcome awaits.
Me and Mum 1953 and 2007
The gypsy prophesied you would cross the seas
Bear seven children
And cross the seas again.
She did not tell of
being a teenage orphan
losing a daughter
blindness and profound deafness
nursing ailing in-laws
a husband’s disintegration with dementia
The gypsy discreet, her crystal ball dimmed
Although courageous and compassionate
If you had glimpsed the future
I may not be here.