Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Well, last night I got the call I was expecting from Gerry to say my English mum, Heather, has “graduated” (as my own mother used to call it). Somewhat ironically just three days away from my own mother’s birthday.

At the time Heather was passing, I was sitting in the sun, reading a book (about Ian Curtis, of all things) along the banks of the Clyde. I sat there and periodically watched the sunlight dance on the water – thinking of her - and it was truly beautiful. It will be a thing that will remind me of her forever now. I even think I felt her go then.

So I wasn’t terribly surprised when late last night Gerry called to say she’d passed in the afternoon - at 3:15.

Life is very strange for me right now. I am oscillating between being happier than I’ve been in years (!) to sobbing my eyes out. From smiles to tears. From the birth of new love to the loss of a loved one. Though life always has these polar pulls for us – right now, it somehow seems so much more pronounced for me.

So tomorrow’s (invisible) plane ticket will be eaten (if not changed for a few week's time) and I wait to hear when the funeral is in Norfolk. It will be a long drive down, (most likely alone), to see her off. She has a resting place that literally, (pardon the pun), is to die for. It’s a great spot to spend eternity amongst her Norfolk kinfolk.

Though I never got to say “goodbye” to her – I truly believe she’s left knowing how much I loved her. I also take comfort that the last phone call that we had was about how happy I was to have met a lovely man (and his lovely kids!) and she expressed how happy she was for me. So at least she can go out knowing she’s leaving me on a crest of wave of happiness. I’d much rather that be our last phone call than me whining about this or that.

The tears I shed are for the fact I’ll never be able to hear her laughing at me and my crazy stories again, and for the birthday cards that always had a tenner in them to buy myself “something nice”. The tears are not just for my own loss, but more for her husband (and life partner of more than fifty years) and for her son David and his family. Their loss is a huge one, but I am grateful that they all have each other to help them through this challenging time. I know they, too, would not trade the pain they’re currently experiencing of having lost her for never having known her. I fully expect this church to be filled with people from all over the globe who are mourning the loss of one of life’s greatest treasures.

But of course she’s not really gone, she’ll live on in all of us. She’s touched so many – everyone who’s ever known her empathy and kindness for neighbours, friends, family members and foreign teenagers like I once was.

Today is a sad day indeed. But I like to imagine her with her own mum who, in her nineties, died some years back. I can see them having tea and a natter in some special, happy place. Heck, even though they never met here on earth, maybe my own mom will join them? Well, who knows what happens when we go? This sort of scenario certainly beats the alternative of black nothingness. Doesn’t it?

Yep, tea in the sky it is...

You may be wondering what all this has to do with break ups...and a break-up blog. Not much really. Except it's all loss. It's also perspective. It's life affirming. When someone dies it reminds us not to let things go unsaid, apologies, gratitude, and love. We never know what's gonna happen to ourselves or the people we love, so don't let an opportunity pass you by.

For my friends (old and new) out there who are reading this (and you know who you are), I thank you and I love you. Thank you for being there for me. And I leave you with a quote from Robert Fulghum-- “I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth is more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death.”

Here’s to my English mum Heather, I love you and hope you're in a better place...wherever you are.

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