I know how difficult it was for you to look beautiful for that lunch we knew would be our last lunch together. You looked so beautiful my Mom... thank you for that. Thank you for taking the trouble to dress so smartly, having your hair done and putting make up on - all for me. You made me feel so special that day.
I know how you had to dig deep to keep that beautiful smile on your face while, at the core of your being, you were screaming for me not to leave. I know because that is how I felt too.
I remember you had your favourite: Mussels in garlic sauce, some fish and chips and a nice cup of hot chocolate. I can see you now dipping your chips into your sauce and licking your lips. I remember too how you eyed my ginger on my sushi plate and then relish its taste when you put it into your mouth. (You always did this when I had sushi). Oh my Mom, I so miss these times we spent together. You smiled and encouraged me to go, to be with my child and to follow my heart. You did this with the courage that only a mother knows. You knew my heart was breaking in two and that I was torn between you and my daughter, you knew. Yet you still soothed me, encouraged me and assured me that you would be alright. You understood how I missed them. Just as you did.
I know that emotion of letting your child go to make a life for herself even if it means that they are on the other side of the country or world. You did that many times with me. First East London, then Johannesburg and now the USA. You cried with me when Karmen, Adam and the kids made the decision to move to the USA. You watched as I helped them pack up and set up for a new life. You said goodbye knowing that it was unlikely you would physically hold, smell and kiss them again. You smiled and sent them on their way while all the while you were screaming inside. I knew and understood Mom, I knew because I was feeling that too. I am so grateful that you got to share in my child's life. That you were so connected to her and that you got to experience and enjoy my grandchildren. They know you, their Gran-gran. They miss you so much. Little Emily often asks why she can't phone you in Heaven. She cherishes your necklaces (yes I brought them over for her). Levi has a notebook and photo of yours. He loves to write letters and often he writes notes to you in the notebook. They both love you and remember your tub of sweets in your drawer.
You have been part of every major event in my life. I am so grateful that I could share my Camino with you albeit it via WhatApp. (I was so amazed that at 89 you knew how to WhatsApp and make data calls). I remember how you shared my travels with the staff in your Frail Care. It was very special for me to share the highlights of each of those 40 days it took me to walk from France, over the Pyrenees and to Compostela de Santiago. You were so proud of me. I know that you walked the whole 800 kilometres (500 miles) with me.
I felt it when you were nearing the end of your life, I heard it in your voice. I was on my first ever USA Road Trip to Canada. As usual we voice noted each other - every day. Then without warning you missed a day. Your voice notes changed and you were letting me know that you had started sleeping more and more, eating less and less. Then I knew - you were preparing to leave us my Mom. I know we agreed that if something happened I wouldn't fly home just for a funeral - but Mom I knew in my heart that this was one event we needed to be together for - I felt this deep within my soul. I turned around and headed back to Nashville - to be able to fly home.
You phoned me on my birthday (1st October). Bless you my Mom, you were so worried that you would forget it.
Then just a day later you entered the final stages of your time with us. Thank you for waiting for me. I am so grateful I could bring Karmen with me, so that you could smell her, hold her and have her close just one last time. I am sorry I couldn't bring Levi and Emily too. You know I would have if I could have. Thank you for giving me another 7 days to be with you to support and hold you in your last days. Thank you for the life you gave me. Thank you for the selfless support, the friendship and amazing guidance. Thank you for showing me what a mothers' love is all about, that I could show my daughter and she hers. Thank you for all the personal sacrifices you made to give me and my siblings the lives we have. You had 6 children in 10 years Mom, you lived month to month and yet we never wanted for anything. You suffered the loss of your eldest child at the tender age of 18, yet you dug deep to comfort and support the rest of us. You kept our home together in spite of the challenges you faced - oh how you protected us. Mom - thank you!
I am so blessed and grateful that I was with you at the end. I experienced you crossing over and know that you are now free of your earthly body, you are light and without sadness or pain. There are no more tears Mom, you are an Angel now.
I miss your smell, your voice and your beautiful face. You took a piece of my heart when you left my Mom. My only consolation is when I look in the mirror - I see you and when I look at my hands, I see yours.
I will always love you my Mom...