Not long after the flowers began to fade and list in their permamoist foam containers she began to notice things. Like shafts of light through summer mist after thunderstorms. Or the way the bowerbirds descended on her garden in fleeting olive-green drifts, cocking their hen-like heads, ever alert for the signalling call of the handsome blue-black fellow with his penchant for azure pegs and drinking straws. Maybe it was the bottled-up emotion curled like watchful cats inside her chest. Maybe it was the dreams that woke her with a start in the deep dark of night. But she noticed that the world was lighter and quieter. And she was set adrift in it – reeling and anchorless.
I never realised that losing my mum would make me feel so alone. So insecure. I feel it most keenly as the seasons change, as my girls grow, and our home renovation takes one more step towards completion - things we will never share. Agonisingly, I feel it in my father's hollow voice down the telephone line.
I’ve been to four family funerals in four years. Each one different and yet the same. So inadequate the send-off for such intricate beings. And such an unfillable person-shaped hole in the universe when they are gone.
Perhaps we need death to make us take stock and dare to ponder mortality.
And then there is always joy. Birth, music, beauty and a perfect day.