It was a year ago today that Mum left this world for the next. I wrote about it then, in a post entitled Gratitude.
Gratitude, not grief; was the overwhelming emotion I felt then, and it has only grown since then. To want more would have been to be ungrateful, grasping, selfish even. How could we not be grateful for all that we had received? How could we not be grateful for the gentleness of her passing?
I feel her presence often. Not in a weird way, I hasten to say; but it would be rare, when I am singing with the worship team at church, for me not to look at the pew from which she would watch us practice; and not think of her. I see her glowing face, beaming with love and pride; knowing that she was enjoying the moment intensely--and she is there.
I called Rob this morning. "I was up there this morning Belinda," he said; and I didn't have to ask where.
"I put a nice bunch of orange roses, (for the Dutch House of Orange) and there were some other nice orange and yellow flowers to go with them, on her grave from both of us," he said.
Then he said, "Where I parked my car, I looked across at our old house--there aren't any leaves on the trees, so you can see it clearly--and I imagined her calling, 'Belinda and Robert.' She probably did that a few hundred times."
He apologized for his voice choking up.
Last May, a couple of months after her death, Rob's elder son, who was there with his younger brother and Rob when she died, shared an experience he hadn't spoken of earlier.
They had all been holding her, telling her they loved her as she left. When she was gone, Rob and his younger son went with the nurse who was going to help them with the arrangements and paperwork and his eldest son stayed on his own for a few last goodbyes.
He had always had an exceptionally close relationship with her. She was his childhood playmate who would tie her apron around his waist and let him stand at her sink and help with all sorts of grown up jobs, and always have time to play.
The curtains were closed around her bed, and he kissed her soft cheek one last time and then just stood for a few moments, quietly, beside her bed.
Then on his shoulders he felt a weight, as though someone had placed a blanket over them. He felt it fall down around his arms.
Whatever that was, or meant, it was a gift, just for him. A gift that said that there is more than we can see. More than just this life.
We have more than gratitude; we have overwhelming expectation and hope.