Remember Me When I Am Gone Away

Remember me when I am gone away

Gone far away into the silent land;

(Christina Rossetti)

There are many milestones associated with losing elderly parents and the last few days have brought one to the fore for me. It involves the death of a woman who knew my parents for a lot longer than I did.

She knew my father from when he first came to Waterford in 1943. She was a few years younger than him but they shared a great love of sport and he got to know her parents, sibs, boyfriends, her eventual husband and kids. He often spoke of how, by chance, he happened to be with her the night her mother died and how ‘being a shoulder to cry on’ had been very significant in sealing  their friendship for life.

This woman was really warm and friendly and was very welcoming to my mother when she arrived in Waterford to marry father. She was also always very kind to us kids and was interested in all our comings and goings.

After Mother and Father died in 2009 and 2010 respectively, I loved meeting her and having a chat. Her memory was excellent and she regaled me with stories about Father, especially, going back to his single days. It felt so good to know that there were people, like her, who remembered my parents when they were in their prime and who wanted to reminisce about the times they shared.

It was a shock to hear that she had died. Somewhere deep down, I think I thought that she would live forever as she had such a youthful way about her and never seemed to have aged physically in my eyes.

It feels like a wrench ~ both in terms of a bridge being knocked between me and my parents and in terms of the significant friendship that we had developed in our own right, especially over the last decade or so.

Obviously, my heart goes out to her grown-up children who meant the world to her but whom I don’t know. I intend to make it my business to get to know them now!

Web of Life
Web of Life

 

 

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 I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

27 thoughts on “Remember Me When I Am Gone Away”

  1. Yes it is so true when a person is removed from our midst then only we really truly look at the relationship we had with them. I know I did when my father passed away this year. We didn’t have a particularly close relationship but when he passed away thoughts of the kindness veiled seem to flood my thoughts and miss him. Be well.

    1. Joesph, thank you kindly for writing.
      I’m glad that your father’s kindness flooded your thoughts after his passing.

      I was very fortunate in having a particularly close relationship with both my parents. I certainly knew how significant this friend of theirs was to me in the years since they died but I suppose I wish I had made that abundantly clear to her. On the other hand, she was the sort of person who was very intuitive and we talked about pretty much everything ~ as if my parents friendship with her had been added to our own distinct relationship over the years from when I was a kid.

  2. Jean please accent my condolances on the loss of a dear friend of the family. It must have been hard for you to write this post because it is bittersweet and brings back the last rememberances of your Mom and Dad when they were living and when they passed on. She was the web that connected you to your Dads earlier days before your Mom came into the picture. How many of us can relate to that is few..it gave you a complete picture of your Dads’ life. Plus a bonding friendship developed that now can extend to her children, because you can relate to them your friendship with their Mom.

    1. Hi Joni, yes, I suspect not that many people have the opportunity of knowing someone who knew their father so well from when he was in his early twenties to his 90s.
      I look forward to meeting our friend’s children over the coming weeks. They couldn’t be anything but warm with the mother they had.

  3. The ‘like’ button sometimes seems an inappropriate way to express feelings. I am sorry, Jean. Some chains stay strong even when a link is removed, and your love for your parents evidently shares that strength.

  4. My condolences on your sad loss. It matters not one bit what age those in our life are it’s the place in our lives and heart they occupy that counts.
    It must have been lovely to have this woman in your life, a link between your Father and you. I can appreciate how big a loss this is.
    I do love that poem. I’ve used it a few times for friends and they have found it comforting.

  5. Hi Jean
    I am sorry to hear about the loss of someone dear to you. I am wondering now (in relation to my own family roots) what it is about needing/wanting that connection and knowledge about our parents and grandparents. It must have been truly inspirational and comforting to hear those stories about your father and mother when they were younger. As life passes by, so many little experiences get caught up in our memories…and it is these small events in our lives that are often the most important.
    Hugs

  6. Dear Jean, I do understand.
    A couple of years ago, we were selling our fudge at a festival in Mindarie Keys. Standing with the crystal water behind us, a fresh sea breeze cooling the heat, this face materialised in front of me. My legs buckled and I thought I would fall. I must have smiled and offered her a sample to try, but don’t remember. All I know is, it seemed my dear mother was standing there, smiling that special smile. It wasn’t, but they say we all have a doppelganger and this was my mum’s. I served her in a dream – she bought the Scottish Tablet and wandered off.
    Although we were four people deep waiting to be served, I left my husband to deal with them all and chased after the lady, still not entirely sure she was real.
    She sat down on a bench near a visiting chef’s tent and was about to sample her son (the chef’s) seafood. As I explained, her sweet face softened and the threatening tears filled my eyes. My mother’s voice seemed to say I shouldn’t be embarrassed and held my hand while I mentally listed so many uncanny similarities.
    I could have sat there for hours… but Hubby was sending worried looks across, between customers. We exchanged cards so I could email when I got home – keep in touch.
    I didn’t want to say goodbye but the hug was genuine and healing for me.
    When I lost Mum I was living down south and never got to say goodbye.
    Finally, I felt as if I did.

  7. Reblogged this on Perth Words… exploring possibilities. and commented:
    Dear Jean, I do understand.
    A couple of years ago, we were selling our fudge at a festival in Mindarie Keys. Standing with the crystal water behind us, a fresh sea breeze cooling the heat, this face materialised in front of me. My legs buckled and I thought I would fall. I must have smiled and offered her a sample to try, but don’t remember. All I know is, it seemed my dear mother was standing there, smiling that special smile. It wasn’t, but they say we all have a doppelganger and this was my mum’s. I served her in a dream – she bought the Scottish Tablet and wandered off.
    Although we were four people deep waiting to be served, I left my husband to deal with them all and chased after the lady, still not entirely sure she was real.
    She sat down on a bench near a visiting chef’s tent and was about to sample her son (the chef’s) seafood. As I explained, her sweet face softened and the threatening tears filled my eyes. My mother’s voice seemed to say I shouldn’t be embarrassed and held my hand while I mentally listed so many uncanny similarities.
    I could have sat there for hours… but Hubby was sending worried looks across, between customers. We exchanged cards so I could email when I got home – keep in touch.
    I didn’t want to say goodbye but the hug was genuine and healing for me.
    When I lost Mum I was living down south and never got to say goodbye.
    Finally, I felt as if I did.

  8. So very sorry for the loss of your close friend. I so understand the importance of knowing someone who remembers your parents being young. As the years go, we are losing people who remember us young, and then we are finally all alone, no links to the past. It is sad, but it feels like a part of some ritual, eternal order, and I believe that all the links are restored in eternity, nothing is lost, and everyone who belong together, will be together again.

    1. Thanks very much for your kind words. I’m not ‘an eternity’ person but certainly feel the everyday presence of loved ones who have died. To me, they are only a heartbeat away.

  9. A lovely post, yes it is so sad when those who knew your parents when they were young are gone, I have so few left who can add to my stories. Must remember to get in touch with them, before its too late. Gave me a heads up, thanks.

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