Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter, a new family significance. . . .

 We've had a lovely weekend here, Paul and I with our daughter B and our g-daughter Nola, a weekend of hikes and beachglass hunts and ice cream sundaes in the sunshine. Of colouring together and reading Bread and Jam for Frances and mixing Lemon Cornmeal Olive Oil Cake together and eating it gluttonously. . .

This morning, at about 9:30, we were absorbing Nola's delight, Paul and I remembering so many Easter egg hunts through so many years -- our own childhoods, our children's childhoods, the nieces and nephews scavenging for goodies in my parents' garden on Lee Street. . . .

And then a half-hour or so later, I answered the phone to my sister's voice and I knew what I would hear. She's gone, my sweet little mother, released finally from cancer's insults, gone, she hoped, to meet my father again, my brother, her sisters and brothers. I hope that is so. They will all certainly be united in our memories of them for decades and generations and many stories to come. My siblings and their partners and their children were starting the story-making already today, watching home movies together and swapping memories, texting or Facebooking me regularly to keep me connected. I wish I were there. Oh, I wish that so.

I'm consoled by what a good death it was, but I'm nonetheless surprised to find myself catching wave after wave of grief, paroxysms of tears, a fetal-curl impulse to my shoulders and knees. Our daughter and granddaughter have ferried away, and Paul is sweetly caring for me. He has a little beachfire going now in our copper "firepan" and some blankets to wrap me in, so I'm going to go sit in a colourful chair, watch the seagulls and the passing boats, count the seals, and let the wave's susurrations sooth me.
Thank you so much for all your lovely comments over the past week -- they sooth me as well. . . .

39 comments:

  1. I hope that having dear Nola nearby gave you comfort, and even joy, at this sad time.

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  2. Oh, mater, I'm so sorry. I have been thinking of you all weekend. I'm so glad that you have such a wonderful loving family, and that beautiful memory of your mother seeing Harriet. Take very good care of yourself.

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  3. The blow of reading this is powerful, despite having been prepared. I'm glad your family is not far away and that Paul is blanketing you. It a wonder how the earth keeps spinning.

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  4. My deepest condolences. I'm so sorry for your loss. Take care of yourself. May you and your family members be a great comfort to one another as you grieve.

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  5. Oh, so sorry Frances. I'm sure that your husband and family will be a great comfort to you at this time. I am so relieved to hear that your mother is not suffering any longer and that she has died peacefully and with acceptance. I hope you are able to remember the most beautiful things about your mother as the flowers start to bloom in spring. I will certainly think of you and of her as I do my gardening over the next couple of weekends. xoxo

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  6. I was so sorry to hear of your loss. Take care of yourself during this difficult time.

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  7. Sending you thoughts and care.

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  8. Now she rests in peace and surely Eternal Light shines upon her as she is reunited, as she believed she would be. Easter is the time of New Life and Resurrection, so your sweet mother might just, in some way, have chosen her time.
    Thinking of you, in sympathy, as you grieve....

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  9. Thinking of you and your family at this time of loss.

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  10. Sincerest condolences Mater. By all accounts it was 'a good death' but you will still doubtless feel the grief for some time to come, probably when you least expect it. Wishing you strength and the continued support of your wonderful family.

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  11. You have my deepest sympathy. Thank heaven for precious memories and comforting husbands,

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  12. My sincere condolences, Frances. May your mother 'rest in peace and rise in glory'.

    No matter how much we prepare mentally for an expected parting, the eventual, total finality of that severance shakes us to our foundations. Please allow yourself as much care, cosseting and non-doing as possible, much more than you may sternly tell yourself that you need. It really is a massive sea change, to find oneself now the top layer of the generations, a profound and unsettling absence to mourn deeply and a new, ambivalent territory to slowly take possession of.
    Sending you care and sympathy from my side of the Pond,
    Hester

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  13. I am sorry that it was your mums time to leave you. I hope she is in that land we dream of, her memories and story will continue with you and yours. As Nola smartly says on her fab little outfit, (surely taking after you) Keep your heart warm.

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  14. Oh you must be so relieved that your dear Mother's suffering is over. No matter how much a relative is loved you cannot wish them to continue when their condition is so serious. She made your wonderfully supportive family so her love and caring for you all will carry on through them. I am thinking of you and hope that some of the joys of the spring season will help to cheer you.
    My brother-in-law, also with terminal cancer, died at home last Sunday and we travel to his funeral tomorrow. Obviously my loss is so different to yours but I shed a tear for your mother as well as my own mother who died 22 years ago and is still sorely missed.

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  15. My condolences. Since yesterday was also the anniversary of my own mother's death (yes, on Easter, in 2002) as well as my late husband's birthday (he died four years before she did), I raised a glass to both. I can tell you from experience that your "new family significance" will eventually be an occasion of somewhat bittersweet reflection that will present you each year with new opportunities for loving and valuing those who have passed. As you probably know, it gets easier, but more than that, it gets deeper. My best wishes to you.

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    1. Wow, that's very beautifully put, Marsha.

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  16. Take care Mater...
    she is at peace now. You've done all you could to make her journey as comfortable as possible.
    Hold tight to the many wonderful memories, they will help you heal as you work through your grief.
    Hugs

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  17. I'm so very sorry. The grief is terrible, I know - it will ease in time, though the sense of loss never goes, nor, I suppose, would we want it to. Take care and get all the support you can from those you love and who love you.
    Rosemary (because 'anonymous' seems too cold at a time like this)

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  18. I am so sorry. Memories will be the Balm in Gilead to soothe your soul--and with time those memories will bring you joy. You will miss her always, and on occasion you will find yourself saying, "I must tell Mother about . . ." She will always be with you and part of you.

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  19. Oh Mater,
    This is so difficult, I know. My mother died this past Christmas in much the same manner. It will be tough for a while. You may even be a little bit crazy. That's ok, it's normal at this time. Be as kind and gracious to your self as you are to others .How poignant that your dear Nola and her parents were with you at the time. The future helps us part from the past. Blessings on you and your family.

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  20. You have my deepest condolences. There are better deaths, and worse deaths, but there are no good deaths, they always take a piece of us with them. Wishing you peace and comfort.

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  21. Oh dear. First I looked at Nola, I was magnetized by the vitality and animation in her. Then I read on, to your loss. Your pain is a witness to your love, and I am so sorry, dear F.

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  22. May you and your family find rest and heartsease now and in the days ahead.

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  23. I am sorry for your loss and grief, F. Praying for peace and comfort for you and your family.

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  24. Oh Mater, it has been a long journey for all of you. I am sending warm hugs and will keep you in my thoughts.

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  25. Frances, I am so very sorry for your loss. I know it's a cliché, but sending you cyber hugs.

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  26. It is so hard to lose ones mother, we mourn for the lost past and for future absence.
    Sincere condolences to you and your family.
    Lilibet

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  27. So sorry for your loss. No matter how prepared you think you are and how inevitable it all seems, it's still a terrible loss. Sincere sympathy to you and all your family

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  28. I have read the last blogs with sadness for you. I think we would all choose to go as your mother did, with the love of her family around her, but that will not in itself ease your loss. Thinking of you from my side of the Atlantic.

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  29. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing your memories of your mother, and of her last meeting with the baby. This is hard, I know, but my thoughts are with you.

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  30. I am sorry, dear friend. Thinking of you and yours.

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  31. Frances, please accept condolences from a stranger, yet one who visits your blog and beautiful words. I wish you peace and healing as grief winds through you. Sincerely, Marysue

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  32. So very sorry to hear of your sad loss - a release for your mother but the pain is none the less for knowing that. It takes time - it's been 6 months now for me and still the waves come and go. Thinking of you.

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  33. I am sorry for your loss, dear Mater. And I am glad that your wonderful family is close to you. Having them with you is surely the greatest comfort possible at this difficult time. My sympathies to you.

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  34. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  35. Oh I am so sorry to hear this, good to have your wonderful family around at this time. Look after yourself.

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  36. I shall light a candle for you and your family.

    Be as gentle with yourself as you have been with your Mother.

    Sue

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