Today I sit thinking of my cousin who is like my kid brother. He lost his lifelong partner last Wednesday. I’m a phone call away and an hour and a half drive away but still… For now there will be children and grandchildren visiting; aunts, uncles and cousins too and friends bringing him comfort as well as a casserole or two. The busyness goes on like a whirlwind for those who grieve and then after the services it slowly stops. Let the grief truly begin. There is no right way or wrong way to mourn, nor is there an expiry date…no indeed, it stays fresh, raw and painful for the time it does…and I know he aches today and will tomorrow. His children and grandchildren will miss their mother and grandmaman who lived life with such passion. She laughed with such enthusiasm and loved with all her heart.
Walking through each empty room, he looks longingly theough his liquid blues.
On this day three years ago I had dreamed half the night. The dream of my mother and I trying to save a dying child. Each time I woke up shocked by the dream, I would go back to sleep and dream the exact same scene…3 times until I could no long sleep. I waited until sunrise and called the nursing home to ask how my mother was. The nurse said, « Viens vite, il ne lui reste plus grand temps.»
I no longer had a car since the fall and called a taxi. It was snowing lightly and it was very cold. The sky was so grey and morbid. I talked all the way down with the taxi driver. His mother had recently passed…
She used every means to get me by her side…I will be forever thankful and she passed a little after midnight…
you poked me
I was by your side
one last time …you looked at me
passing to the other side
embraced by your soothing voice
telling me each time
I love you darling –
don’t forget your Hail Mary’s
never too old
j’suis toujours ton bébé
miss you Mom…
The only death I truly accepted and understood the infinite journey was my grandfather’s death. Although I was only six, I was blessed to be in a family that was open about life and death; my grandmother being a midwife, talked often of the births she assisted and it did not take away my youth as so many of my Anglo-Saxon raised peers felt…French Canadians kept many European mores I think. And so I remember going to hospital to await the news the doctors would pronounce of the impending fate of my GrandPapa. We often sat by his bedside holding his hand daily for a year, as I lived with my grandparents that year. My sister and I saw the priest perform his last rites, Extreme Unction and his last smile at me surrounded by his children the day he passed.
So for me, finite meant my favourite person had an expiry date to his suffering; he would be in a place where there is no pain, where he could run freely …and yes, I believed this and to some extent still do.
At my age, I have lost many relatives and friends to death and more recently a friend and colleague for whom I have shared a series of haiku;unfortunately there are many I have not quite accepted…sudden deaths, people too far for me to go to their service are mostly the people I still struggle to accept and sometimes I feel it was all a dream and they are still here.
How often I wanted to dial the number of my friend, Janet, who died suddenly when I was far away. The only person who read my mind, felt my emotions; our signal to chat after midnight…one ring…we both knew was the other who wished to talk until dawn. I still don’t accept the infinite passing of this friend.
Grandpapa, tu es toujours près de moi, dans mon cœur, ombrant mon âme.
humble corps affaibli enfin libéré douleur fini
âme pétillant pure et infini les cieux attendent
yeux brillants plonge dans l’éclat céleste lumière blanche