I am outdoors and it is quiet, except for the sound of the bell. I don’t know where it is coming from. The air is warm and the table I am seated at is dappled with sunshine. I want to write but am struggling to coherently describe what is going on in my head and heart.

Yesterday was another anniversary of my mother’s death. We ate chips and drank wine in her honour. I decided against the suggestion that we go to her gravesite. I find it difficult to go, not because I don’t want to “visit” my mom, but because it is there I most acutely feel her absence. Instead I want to look at some of her treasures that now adorn our house, drink too-strong coffee, imagine her sitting beside me, and work out all the news that I want to share.

Though life has been uniquely busy over the last number of weeks, I have also found myself with time to be alone in deep thought. Sometimes this takes me down a rabbit hole of memories: lying on the grass beside Lake Ramsay at my grandparents’ home, listening to mom chatting and occasionally bursting into laughter; sharing chocolate croissants on a table outside of the St. Lawrence Market; stringing popcorn and cranberries for the Christmas tree; carrying ten more pounds of potatoes than we ever needed to a family gathering because she was worried there wouldn’t be enough; helping to rearrange all the precious things she kept on her hospital windowsill.

I can also hear her voice. I am certain she would have all kinds of questions about what we are doing at The Dale, how Cate is managing the loss of so many things during her senior year, and what Dion is up to each day. I suspect she would caution me about doing too much, gently reminding me that Sabbath was never intended to be optional. She would take notes on her I-Pad with her one good finger, all in order to keep each item in prayer.

Death arrived just before 10:30 pm for my mom. To this day I can easily place myself in that moment. Last night I decided to wrap myself in a blanket-like poncho that was hers. Just as I am now, I tried to stop and listen to my surroundings. It was still. I looked out the window and noticed more stars than I expected. I didn’t think that sleep would come, but then I heard the same bell that is ringing today. For a moment, the space between us was blurred. I fell asleep with renewed hope that one day that space will be eliminated.

4 thoughts on “A Blurring of Space

  1. Dear Erin,
    Reading this post makes my heart ache for you. I thought of my Mom, gone now 16 years in a few days. In three weeks our grandson turns 16. His birth was a joy she missed out on and I miss that she missed it.
    Like you, I was beside her when she died, the only one of my 4 siblings to make it there. Just the two of us. I was strangely calm. I didn’t cry for a very long time and then after some counselling to help me process it. (I also was suffering from herniated discs at the time and hardly knew where the pain was coming from). I am someone who can hide my feelings for a long time.

    Why do I bore you with MY life? When you are the one whose pain I have just read about? Because I have been there. Even though our ages and life circumstances differ vastly, I want to offer you encouragement. It is early days in your grief yet. You WILL go down that rabbit hole and suffer. But sometimes you will be able to know you shouldn’t “go there” and not just shouldn’t, but needn’t. You will be able to choose. Eventually all your memories will be sweet without the pain. And if it’s any comfort I can still hear my mom’s voice and feel her soft cheek, even 16 years on.

    Cate knew her Grandma and will tell her own kids stories so they will “know” her, just as my grandkids know their great grandma through our pictures and stories. And it’s the cycle of life. It’s OK. Even though it doesn’t feel OK just yet.
    I hope this helps. In the meantime, I will keep you in my prayers, and Dion and Cate.
    You know, Luke always talked a lot about you three when he worked with Dion. He thought and does think so much of Dion and he was so pleased for you when Cate was born.
    Susan Allen

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