It’s seven years ago tonight that I sent that text to the kind woman who was sitting with Mother in hospital. It read: Say ‘Goodnight Irene’ from me.
That’s how we always said ‘Goodnight,’ and it didn’t surprise me to hear later that Mother, who had suffered a severe stroke four days before, definitely responded when the message was read to her and that she then settled and passed away peacefully.
Seven years is a long time in some respects and no time in others. Mother’s presence has remained constant throughout as I do even the most mundane things like washing up. Most of all, though, she is with me when I’m lost in nature; nature that she loved and appreciated more than anyone else I’ve ever met.
What’s changed in the seven years is how I see her passing. All the horribleness of being cooped up in hospital has been swept away by the intervening storms and now it’s like she strolled down a May time path festooned with a blaze of nature’s colours.
These are the paths that she craved from her childhood growing up on a farm; paths that she walked with us when we were kids, teaching us about trees, flowers, wildlife; paths that she journeyed in her memory when failing health held her back.
So many paths come to mind but this one in our beloved Mount Congreve seems just right as I think of her now with a loving smile: