A three month voyage around my Mum

Dear Mother

It is March 26th today and yesterday it was three months since you died. Next Monday it’ll be three months since your funeral. It was a lovely funeral, singing, talking, laughing, eating…all the things you enjoyed most. I hope heaven is everything you believed it would be and more. Forgive my curiosity, but I’d love to know what you do and how long a day is in eternity. Fluffy clouds, harps, robes, white light? I know, one day.

How has life been in the last three months? Better than I thought it would and rockier than it ought to have been. I crashed your car, the old ‘dinger’ that we thought would go on forever. I managed to write it off in a paddock. Remember when you said should we keep your sturdy reliable car or my flash-harry show-off model? I asked if that was a rhetorical question and you said, “of course.” Well, sturdy and reliable wasn’t enough to survive me passing out behind the wheel and demolishing a sign and a fence and going for a little cross-country jaunt in a paddock. I know what you would’ve said, “as long as you’re okay, that’s all that matters.” But you would’ve mourned that little silver car, we had great singsongs and journeys, and one or two arguments, in that car.

I’ve been going to aqua-aerobics and it makes me smile when I remember you in your dark glasses doing the exercises in the Lloyd Elsmore Pool in Pakuranga. It was an indoor pool and the instructor called you “Mrs Mafia.” This is an outdoor pool and many people, including me, wear dark glasses. But somehow they manage to avoid looking sinister when eyeing up the person next to them who has floated into their space.

I bake. The oven is as hot and temperamental as ever. I bake things intended for 180degrees at 140degrees and they still cook in two thirds the time the recipe says. I bake the way you taught me, methodically and carefully, reading the recipe. I still wonder if things are cooked. I remember making jam with you and being allowed to pull my finger through the jam on the saucer to see if it had set. I remember the smell of tomatoes, onions and vinegar permeating the kitchen the night before tomato relish making day, holding the funnel as the bright red mixture plopped into the hot jars.

I sing. We washed the dishes and we sang “Amazing Grace” and I sang the tune and you harmonised and I only wandered a little. You loved “Sweet Caroline” and “The Boy From Nowhere” and during those last months we lay on the bed and sang “Daisy, Daisy” together. Remember how after Dad died we couldn’t play La Boheme for a year? There’s nothing officially off limits this time but I haven’t tried Whispering Hope since your funeral and I don’t think I’ll risk it yet.

I’ve sorted through your clothes and given some to the local Jumble shop and the very good ones to the Hospice shop. I’ve kept that golf jumper of Dad’s you wore and that silk shirt you loved and the coats and some of the vintage pieces I love, that beaded pink cardigan. And your hats and all Nana’s gorgeous gloves. The important stuff.

Talking of clothes, I am true to your powerful love of the washing machine. If you were a washerwoman in a former life, as you used to say, then maybe you’re in the laundry of heaven. I push the buttons and hang the clothes on the line and bring them in and fold them and smell that fresh-from-the-line scent that you loved so much. I remember the wringer machine and how hard you worked at it for so long before the automation fairy visited our house.

So, three months. I think I’ll be on Vancouver Island for the six month anniversary with the bulk of my American Adventure behind me and Lord only knows where I’ll be for the twelve month. I know I said it a hundred times, but you were my world and I was yours and now my world is different. Still a magical place, but different. And it will never be the same again. The wings I have, you gave me, and I fly for you. I love you.

Daisy Daughter


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