Friday, July 13, 2012

The end of the journey...

I'd wanted to go for a walk in the forest alone. To weep, perhaps. To think. He wanted to come, though...the two-year old. I did not say no.

He was exhuberant, drinking in the summer sun, wading through the meadow grasses...chasing his shadow. Trying to hide from me in the bushes. Insisting on taking the 'other' path.

I watched him running down the trail. His arms outstretched and and his face tilted to the sky.

I did my thinking...remembering when I was a child and the entire world was new and exciting and oh so beautiful. I thought that my Mom, too, had been a child once, had likely run down a summer path ahead of her mother, and basked in the glory that is our world.


I do not know when Mom learned that life was not forever...that she was here but for a short time.  Whenever it was, she did not let that news bother her at all.  She took it in stride. Death was just what happened at the end of life...and was of little importance and worthy of no worry or seeking or wondering. Life was where her focus was, where her energy went.  Unlike me...

I was very young when I discovered death, perhaps 3 or 4. While others my age were contemplating faerys and rainbows, I was desperately trying to wrap my mind around the concepts of infinity and mortality. Many were the nights when I would not be able to sleep...terrified of the dark and of dying. I'd creep down the stairs and fling myself into my mom's arms, sobbing about matters for which I had very few words.

I remember Mom became exasperated by my fretting, by my questions that have no answers, by my negativity. Why do we live if we're only going to die? Why? Why? Why? What will happen to you, Mommy, when you die? What will happen to me? Who will hold me? Kiss me? Dry my tears? Love me? Who will do that when you die?

"I won't die until you're ready for me to die," she'd finally promised in an effort to allay my panic and get me back to bed.

Mom passed away last month at the age of 94. I guess I was finally ready.

Eileen Schuh, Canadian Author
 www.eileenschuh.com


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3 comments:

Suzy Turner said...

Eileen... your post almost brought me to tears. I could really feel for you as a toddler aching to understand the notion of death. But how wonderful that your mother lived such a long, full life. I hope you have been able to 'accept' her death now all these years later.
I lost my mother when I was 13. It's never easy, no matter what age you are.

Jo Lambert, Writer said...

A very moving blog Eileen. It must be very unsettling for a child to lose a close relative. My father was killed in an accident four months before I was born. I learned about him through my mother and my aunts and uncles. I've always felt he is with me and that because he didn't get to live his life and do the things he wanted to (he was 24 when he was killed)that I should try and make up for that. I hope now that I've become a published author he's looking down and he's proud of what I've achieved. I dedicated my first book to him.

Eileen Schuh: said...

Thank you, ladies, for sharing your stories. Although losing a parent is difficult no matter what age you are or they are, I'm happy that I got to know my mother as an adult. As a child, one has a self-centred skewed view of parents, not really able to see them as separate people with their own dreams, fears, insecurities, history and courage.

It is iteresting, Jo, that you mention living your life to honour your father. The young protagonist in THE TRAZ loses her father at age 13 and for the rest of her life struggles to live up to the high expectations he had of her. His influence on her remains very strong throughout her life. That's what we mean when we say we never really lose our parents--that they are with us forever.