A Passing…

A Passing…

Aujourd’hui, maman est morte.” Mother died today. So starts Albert Camus’s “L’Etranger“, and also this post. Except it wasn’t today but 24th November 2020, and this is only the second time since that I’ve acknowledged it. I hadn’t even acknowledged it during the service, a strange event in COVID times – beautiful and elegant as it was her words and her wishes, yet distant. The first time I did was when I read the short note that she had written for me. We all had a note, Big Bruv, Big Sis and me, all penned separately in that all too familiar script. All except for Little Bro, who had sailed on his own journey into the afterlife nearly a decade ago.

When I read that note, a dam burst and I cried. A natural reaction. That dam had been built of numbness ever since I heard those fateful words, ‘Mum’s gone into hospital.‘ Brick after brick of numbness as day after day passed.

Not sure what it is.’

‘A chest infection,’ then ‘Sepsis.’

Waiting for tests, an ultrasound, an MRI, a CT,‘ an alphabet of initials cementing the bricks together. Then a brief candle in the gathering storm, the sepsis defeated. A small beacon of light to guide her way home.

Yet, a stronger light led her away. A roaring fire, with those gone before seated close to it. Dad and her second husband swapping stories of work and service, her Mum, and of course her Dad, cruelly taken when she was young. Last, but not least, Little Bro, her youngest. This fire so big, so warm, that it dwarfed our candle, so mush so, that when the final bricks were placed – a positive COVID test, a delay in treatment until a negative test that never came – brought about that last final message. “Aujourd’hui, maman est morte.”

And now, for some, a mere statistic, yet for everyone whose life she touched, a star.

No more will I be offered a cup of tea, despite moving to the dark side nearly 20 years ago, and now only partaking in coffee.

No more will I be shown neatly clipped pictures taken from magazines and newspapers, showing whimsical animals and fantastical articles. A sort of pre-internet cat meme and a ‘share’ button.

No more will I be regaled by stories of people I have hardly ever met, yet feel I now know everything about them, right down to the finest detail. Or stories about so-and-so’s brother who was in my year at school, or was it possibly Little Bro’s year, or was it their sister or neighbour.

No more will I be treated to those wonderful words, ‘I was just about to sit down and have something to eat,’ and then be ushered to the magic table resplendent in a gingham tablecloth and covered with plates of thickly buttered French bread, cheeses and crisps, spreads and jams, cakes – both home made and Mr Kipling, fruit and jelly and the obligatory pot of Elmlea.

And the teapot snuggled underneath it’s cosy.

OMG I miss it.

Finally, as I write, I feel the tears rise again, but feel better as I realise that finally the numbness can be suppressed. So, goodbye Mum, until we meet again, up by that roaring fire, a long, long way away. And when you greet me with those words, ‘How about a cup of tea?’, do you know what? I’ll take you up on that, with a hug, and will then be on the lookout for that magical table – because what a spread that will be.

Mum

Mother, Nanna & Grand-nanna.

14th March 1941 – 24th November 2020

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