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



Walking with Grief

Grief is a complex animal and one which has many layers. The depth of the layers only become apparent over time but not in any orderly way.

I knew when my mother died five years ago in the early hours of May 31st  that I just had to put my grief aside as my father, who was eighty-nine needed me. This year, as Mother’s anniversary has been approaching, I have been very aware of the ‘unresolved grief ~if that’s the term, bubbling up and asking to be heard.

Today, I went to lovely Mount Congreve Garden, that haven of peace, and strolled wherever instinct drew me. It was a surreal experience as vivid flashes of that last day sitting by Mother’s hospital bed as she was in a deep, deep sleep mingled with the breathtaking beauty of Mount Congreve.

Although I felt that I had walked through Mother’s passing, when I came to write about it this evening and select photographs, the computer stubbornly refused to let me run ahead of myself and save the photographs that seemed to depict the turning point.

I certainly don’t believe that the computer has some special powers but I am convinced that grief needs, and indeed demands,  to be heard but has to be taken at its own pace.

So here are the images that wanted to be seen today in the paradise that is Mount Congreve: