Saturday, April 6, 2013

AfterMath . . .


First, I must once again thank you all for the richness of supportive comments you have left me. These have been truly sustaining over the past days, and I wish I could have found time to respond to them individually. I'm not sure which I find more meaningful -- those from long-time blogging friends whose words have the weight of IRL girlfriends with whom I might have drunk countless cups of tea -- or those from readers leaving their first comments here ever. Thanks so very much to all of you.

Still too emotionally electric from yesterday's funeral and the previous days of gathering with family -- and simply too tired, quite honestly, to write a coherent post. I gave the eulogy for my dear mother and that writing has left me wrung out, although satisfied with a job done to the best of my abilities. She was also, and I believe more memorably, honoured in a brilliant little film -- a collage of home movies edited, captioned, and put to music by my nephew who recently graduated from film school and is currently working in sound design for video games. My brother-in-law similarly put together a brilliant show with family photographs captioned, sequenced, and accompanied by absolutely perfect music.  The photographs had been culled over the past several weeks from mom's collection and then augmented in the last few days by panicked calls for shots of this nephew or that niece with their granny.

There was a surprising number of pre-family shots of my mother that I had never seen before. Some day I might write about the response that triggered, but I'm not sure I quite understand it yet. Suffice it to say she was so beautiful, lively, engaged, and even social in a way I rarely glimpsed in my life with her -- or is that her life with me?

At any rate . . . . I'm off to meet my siblings at her condo. We're to choose a few items we'd like, prepared to let go (I hope) lightly if someone else wants them much more. There has been so very much good will and support between us, I'm counting on it to continue. . . . but I do expect that this might also be a day that both drains and sustains. . . . (how does that work, really? what are the psychic physics or math involved? But it's true somehow, don't you agree, that some events or encounters do both at once?)

So I've written a bit, after all, but I'm right, am I not, that I'm not yet coherent enough for blogging on the topic. I'll leave you with this wonderful photograph, one I'd never seen before this week. My sisters chose it to front for the cover of Mom's little Funeral Mass leaflet and to accompany her obituary in the paper. It's a motorized bike she's riding -- Oh, That's my WizardWhizzer, said my uncle when he spotted the photo. . . . She's ridden off into peace, now, leaving us to sort it all out. . . .I'm still trying . . .

28 comments:

  1. What a great picture! The time that is spent together with family arranging and recollecting is very tiring. However simple the service, there is the need for everyone's input and participation. Take time to nurture yourself.

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    1. It's such an intense time, as you must know, having gone through this recently yourself.

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  2. You've been through quite a time - I'm sure that the eulogy was lovely.
    There must have been many 'versions' of your mum - girl, young lover, anxious first-time-mother, dear friend - that you never really knew. It's quite a gift to get a chance to see those parts of her life. Perhaps she'd be amused at how she can still surprise her children.
    Good luck with the sorting. It sounds like you and your siblings will do fine with it.

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    1. I like the idea of her amusement at surprising us. . .

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  3. In fact I find this to be some of your best writing. So immediate.

    Your mother does look wonderful. I don't think we can take our mothers' sorrows on ourselves, however, it was a sad era for womankind I believe and very few made it through very well.

    I see her face in you.

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    1. Sad in so many ways, with consequences that are still playing out. . .
      I see our faces blending together as well, increasingly.

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  4. I've noticed that when someone passes, the memorial brings together bits of memory from a variety of sources from different stages of life that we're often left wondering how well we really did know that person.

    I hope that you will find time, among the sorting, to laugh and cry with your siblings, and then, to rest. Be gentle with yourself.

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    1. Yes, I'm revisiting so much of the past, trying to reconcile what I know with other versions that are also true.

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  5. Beautiful photo! And so glad to hear from you and to know that, though exhausted (who wouldn't be?), you are managing. I've often wondered about siblings who fight over their parents' belongings - though I'm sure that you and your siblings will share beautifully, as you do everything beautifully together! I know that, when I find myself in this situation (hopefully many years hence), I will not fight my sister for anything. It all means much more to her - it always has. The wonderful thing about sharing your mother's things is that they will all stay between you as a family. Perhaps, if there's a thing you love, which someone else does too, you will take turns caring for it. xo

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    1. We did such a good job, if I do say so myself, although it was a very emotional day, and there were a few tough moments, many tears overall. . .

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  6. It's a gorgeous photo. May these and other amazing memories live on.
    I think all children miss out on a glimpse of their mother's life as a solo person inher own right. It's just the way it is.
    Take care and slow the pace while you recover

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    1. I know my children try to see me in my own right but are often blinded by my role as their mother -- it's a powerful role to see past, isnt' it?!

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  7. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. I lost mine, about this time of the year, 15 years ago.

    My mother loved her grandbabies, and my son, almost 4, would visit her, no understanding of being scared of her and he would lie beside her and talk to her. She became more coherent when he was there, and even more so when my niece was with us.

    After my father died, 11 years later, my 3 sisters and I did indeed fight over family possessions. I simply didn't care about much of it, and refused to be drawn into the fight, which severed the older two sisters, from the younger two sisters. My thought is that your family seems more healthy than mine, and I hope you avoid this horror. My son, 15 then, came in, heard the noise, listened and then called us a group of harpies.At that point I refused to continue.

    Your mother sounds like she had a loving family who loved her very much. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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    1. Those losses remain fresh for a surprisingly long time, don't they?
      So sad that possessions caused estrangement in your family. We had some of that when my grandma died -- so foolish! You must continue to be pleased that your son let you see how wrong any squabbling was in that context -- you must have raised him with a solid sense of right.

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  8. That is a wonderful photo - and you write beautifully on such a difficult subject. Take care of yourself.

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  9. I think you have shared a very touching and poignant personal journey with us...thank you.
    Even though you say you are not quite up to a blog post on the subject I think this is an evocative and
    insightful piece of writing.
    Take care,
    Leslie

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    1. It's an ongoing journey, isn't it. . . thanks.

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  10. Oh my, you look like her! When mourning my mother, felt as if I'd opened a huge scrapbook in my head, forgotten, small memories come up, things half-forgotten in the busyness of life. In so many ways she is always with me- as your mother is with you, too.

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    1. I like your metaphor -- the experience demands some comparison with something really material, corporeal. . . .it's a huge process.

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  13. What a fantastic photo, and I'm struck by how much you look like your mother, Frances! Thanks for sharing it with us, as well as sharing the emotional journey of this recent loss. Take care of yourself!

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    1. You should see a photo of all my sisters -- I suspect you could spot Mom in all of us. . .

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  16. Such a vibrant photo - even in B&W she shines.
    There is so much busy-ness involved in the death of a family member that those first few days pass in a blur of activity. Later, in the quietness of your own routines a different appreciation of your loss often catches you by surprise. The days ahead will be full with the normal rhythms of home and work and grief will associate itself in a variety of memories and reflections. Treasure your gleanings.

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  17. Frances, I've been thinking of you and know you are still processing a significant ending. The photo of your Mother reminds me of you. I wish you peace and solitude in the coming weeks, at least as much as possible.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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