I want to thank you for your response to my post on How do we grieve. I appreciated the connection which was shared. I decided to light a memorial candle to honour my mother’s life that ended on 7th October 2019. Since it is the first anniversary I thought I would write about the experience and a bit about her.
Firstly I lit the candle in the evening of the 6th as that was her last day of her suffering. Watching her suffer was not easy, which actually started 11 years before when she was diagnosed with bronchiectasis, then later with lupus and a pharyngeal pouch. We knew she would eventually die of one of these conditions. At first the downhill road was slow and I felt like I was saying goodbye to parts of her for a very long time. It was also a good time because we had the time to make right any offenses and hurts we had towards each other; we spent lots of time together and we grew closer spiritually. So the last day was torturous, for all of us, like watching her drown or suffocate because her lungs could not function anymore.
Enough about her slow death!
I lit the candle in honour of her most amazing life. She was a successful graphic artist, did mountain climbing with ropes, enjoying abseiling; started a cycling club (in her day this was very unusual), travelled as a single woman on passenger liners to places like Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Beira in Mozambique, on occasion she smoked a pipe, cigars and chewed tobacco; as she put it “being an artist I fancied myself to be “bohemian.”” Maybe you can see that she was independent and a free spirit.
She was a kind and spiritual person too, interested in religions of the world (her parents were of two different religions); after my parents had been married for seven years and my father died she dedicated herself to God, following the Christian path. Her way of showing her faith was very practical: by working at soup kitchens and teaching the young girls how to sew and knit.
She also knitted many nativity scenes for celebrating Christmas which she sold all over the world (America, South Africa, Australia and India to mention a few places I know of.) The money that was raised she gave to good causes such as The Leprosy Mission in South Africa. She was always ready to give clothes and food to those that needed and so I remember her kind heart especially.
Getting back to the candle.
As I lit the candle and moved about my evening and the next day I saw the flame of the candle burning bright and was reminded of her kind spirit; I thought of all her kind deeds she had done and I felt both proud to be her daughter and inspired. I am her only child and I feel like I carry that flame now in my heart and life. When I got to blowing out the candle I felt like I didn’t want to blow it out; it was so symbolic of saying goodbye to her yet as I did, and the smoke lifted heavenwards, I imagined her spirit being released from her body and being set free from being tethered to this earth. She is my free spirited mother.
Take care, till next time.