Reflections on Mother’s 6th Anniversary

Blue Geranium
Blue Geranium

Six years have now passed since Mother died on May 31, 2009. People tend not to write about anniversaries beyond the first one or two. I suspect this is more out of a sense that they feel they shouldn’t rather than that they have somehow ‘gained closure,’ to use that awful term.

This is the first time since Mother died that the dates and days have come full circle again. I always think that nature tries to soften the early anniversaries by changing the days and somehow confusing the memory.

Here in Ireland, quite a few people, especially in the Roman Catholic Tradition, place memorial notices in local newspapers for years and years after a loved one dies or have a Mass said.  That’s never been part of our  lives as Mother was a member of the Church of Ireland and neither she nor Father were into these practices.

Also, because she wanted to be cremated and have her ashes scattered at sea, there is no grave site to visit.


None of this means that she has not been very much on my mind over the last few days.  This ‘presence’ has two very different sides. One was vivid recall of her last few days. It’s like key aspects have been etched into my memory to the extent that I even woke at the very time in the early hours of yesterday morning that I got the phone call to say that she had slipped away. The fact that there is such heightened awareness of aspects of end of life means that professionals particularly need to be very cognisant that how they deal with each individual death remains very much ‘alive’ for years and years.

On the other hand, there are lifetimes of memories and these relate to her early years as she relayed them to us through chatting, photos, diaries, letters; and secondly, what I’d call ‘the shared years.’

While a very emotional time, it’s certainly not been  dominated by sadness. Rather, a sense of all that binds us together and, in many ways, the extent of that only becomes more obvious the more time passes.


Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

27 thoughts on “Reflections on Mother’s 6th Anniversary”

  1. Sending you hugs Jean, your mother blessed you with her love and time when she was alive and you keep all that in your heart by remembering that. xxxx

    1. Andrea, thanks for writing. I’d definitely say a lot of comfort in the memories of times shared up to her final loss of consciousness. Very few in the latter period which still intrudes.

  2. Memories are footprints on the heart… I don’t keep track of the year she departed as I choose to remember the years that she was with’s too painful to relive the time that she died, I know that she would want to be remembered this way..

    1. Joni, I love the notion of footprints of the heart. I agree that people would probably prefer to be remembered as they were in their prime but it’s not so easy to blank out the ending. I think it is far easier to do so if it has been managed as one feels the person would have wanted.

      1. We (hubby and I) were away at the time of my Moms’ demise. We had car trouble and I felt the urgent need to return home. We were met by our daughter who told us that my Mom had passed away at the local regret that I couldn’t be with her in her last hours..but I feel that I was shielded from this painful experience of seeing her pass by a higher authority…

    1. Hi CC, many thanks for commenting. I think that, like you, happy memories with Mother will always be a comfort. I was very fortunate to have my mother for so long.

  3. It sounds like she’s always with you but it’s nice to think that when you visit the ocean, you’re visiting her in a way.

  4. Sheila, thanks for writing. Yes, it feels like she’s always around and certainly there is a huge sense of closeness at the sea which she adored as much as I do.

  5. In just 24 days, it will be 33 years since my darling Mum left us, aged just 51. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of her and thank her for the loving and caring person she was.
    I feel her presence wherever I am.. in the rustle of the leaves of the liquid amber which towers over our home and carpets the lawns with it’s amber jewels, a far cry from the 12″ seedling she brought to our home. I feel her when I make her favourite dishes, or when I hear her great grandchildren laugh, though she has never known them.. In so many ways, she is still with us.
    May you always find comfort in all that you shared and all that you treasure of the heritage your mother bestowed on you.

  6. Crissouli, thank you for such a wonderfully lyrical and empathetic comment. I truly appreciate it and hope that you will keep in touch as your dear mother’s anniversary draws closer.

  7. My sympathies to you. I do think it is nice to have an anniversary to publicly acknowledge your loss, and allow you to mourn and remember, sharing your memories with others.

    1. Tric, sorry for the delay in responding.
      I agree that it would probably be best as you describe but it doesn’t always seem possible for a whole host of reasons.

  8. Lovely reflective post, Jean, and hugs to you, as well. Our family remembers anniversaries clearly. My Mother-in-Law passed away 23 years ago and a day doesn’t pass by without thinking about her. In ways, it feels like yesterday. Now it’s been 3 1/2 years since my Mom passed, too. We’re not really into visiting grave sites and plan to be cremated ourselves. My Mom, though, was buried and my Dad visits her and I suppose it’s good for him. I, on the other hand, don’t want to think of her in that way. I’d rather remember her when she was healthy and smiling and know now that her spirit lives on.
    I know you find peace and comfort through all your “shared years” together…♥

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