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"Good" Bye

It was Saturday evening and Mum was tucked up cozily in bed. Our friends, Eileen, Chris and Nel-Rose had left a couple of hours earlier for their long drive north to Kendal, in the Lake District. Nel is studying nursing at Lancaster University and we are all so happy to see her following her dream.  
I sat on the side of Mum's bed, as usual going over the lovely moments in the day that we had shared. I told Mum that Nel is hoping to do one of her placements in Canada.
"Wouldn't that be nice?" I said, "She might be able to stay with us." 
Mum nodded, "She can stay in my room," she said, smiling. 
"Do you still remember the loft room?" I asked; Mum's stroke in 2003 took some of her memories with it. 
"Oh, yes," she said, "I remember all of your rooms. I don't remember the other house," she added, making a face, and I knew that she was referring to the last house she lived in with Dad, on Snake Lane; a place with no happy memories. That is a house whose rooms she has chosen to forget.
 We reminisced about how she loved looking up at the stars and moon through the skylight over her bed in the loft room. There she was surrounded only by love and happy times with family. And also by all of our friends, who like everyone who ever met Mum, loved her at first sight.

Mum was up for anything and everything; coming with me everywhere I went: worship practices; writer group meetings; church, cell group; shopping--and endless coffees and teas with friends. She loved it all and partook to the full--never admitting to being tired.

It was so good to know that some of those memories remain with Mum as well as with me.

Goodbyes at the end of our happy times together back then, were hard in a different way to now. Then, she was leaving intense happiness for a hard life at home. And yet outwardly we spoke only of gratitude for what God had given us together, and "next time."

We held our sadness close inside and did not admit to it; that would have been too hard. As I would watch her brave, smiling face vanish finally from sight at the airport, I would turn away, holding tightly to Paul's hand, head bowed to hide the brave smile on my own face that was now crumpling into tears in spite of my valiant effort to hold them back.

I am grateful that now it is different when we part. I leave Mum in the care of loving hands; those of Rob, and her carers, who are respectful and kind. She knows that I leave for a life that is happy, and I know that she is cherished.

We still focus on being grateful, as we should, for all that we have been given, and we still cling to "next time;" for always there is next time. We can count on that, whether here, or in heaven, where one of us will be waiting for the other at heaven's gate one day.

With grateful hearts always, we will say, "Until we meet again."


Paula Walker said…
"Precious memories, how they linger, How they ever fill the soul" ~
Each time my Grandpa left any of his dear ones, he would say, "Well, Here~There~or in The Air" and he'd be gone !
I will pray that treasured memories of this time spent with your mum will bring you much pleasure until you see her again.
Brave Raven said…
I feel cheated to have never met your beautiful Mom. Us blog followers have grown to love her. If only you could pack her up with you.
Belinda said…
Paula, I absolutely love that farewell of your Grandpa's, "Here--There--or in The Air." Wonderful.
Belinda said…
Brave Raven, I think I'm going to have to organize a charter flight to England just for all the people who now know Alvechurch and Mum so well. My Mum is a very special person. I grew used to feeling as though I was accompanied by the Queen Mother, without being the Queen! :)
Susan said…
I'm thinking April - when all the bluebells will be out and just before the fares hike up for the big tourist season.

Anyone want to join me? :)

I heard from some poet once that England is a pretty cool place to be come April...but then May follows, too and sounds just as wonderful! (Robert Browning if you want to look it up.)
Marilyn said…
I love the way you put the memories of these leaving-takings together. You had me looking up through a loft window at the stars. Wonderful!
Marilyn said…
p.s. Count me in for an Alvechurch charter trip!
Belinda said…
We are back! I have so enjoyed taking you all with me on our trip. Wouldn't it be fun to do that charter trip? Me--I have fun just thinking about it.:)

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