In recent times, there have been lots of searches to my blog relating to ‘losing elderly parents. I know that January is a time which sees many very ill and frail people passing on as somehow it seems that another year is just too much.
As I have said so often before, there is no easy way to lose an elderly parent, especially a mother or father with whom one has been extremely close. For me, a key word in coping with such loss is ‘presence’ and the sense that a beloved mother or father remains very much with us through all sorts of memories ~ however banal they may seem. All I have to so is look at a saucepan that I grew up with and I can hear my late mother say, ‘Remember, never put eggs in the milk saucepan!’
I have been thinking a good bit recently about the notion of ‘undying love’ and I think that somehow parents, whom we loved and who loved us when they were alive, are the epitome of ‘undying love’ as their presence remains with us in all sorts of ways.
Last night, I finally took down the holly and mistletoe from Christmas (late, I know, but the timing was never a huge thing in out house) and burnt it in the fire as Mother did for all the years I can remember of her long, long life.
I felt like she was with me gathering up all the berried holly and the sprig of misteltoe and the warmth that came from the fire was just like the warmth of her smile as we would look forward to spring and the coming of the snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells.
I have no idea if burning the holly and mistletoe is part of an Irish or global tradition but it is certainly a part of my Irish upbringing and one that I intend to continue and pass on to the next generation.