I see her around. Well, not really because she is dead, her ashes put in to the ground by my own hands.
Except that I see her. In a well dressed woman of a certain age. A tone of voice. A whiff of perfume. A turn of phrase.
Sometimes the turn of phrase comes out of my own mouth.
I see her absence too. When I walk down Whyte Avenue at Christmas and think of the shopping trips she took with my Godmother. As I cook food for a colleague whose mother is dying. When I survey worn and stained tea towels and battered wooden spoons. Too many years with no stockings.
The galaxy of small things I don’t think about until I do. The unexpected moment which catches you.
I came from something.
Not always something good, loving or even healthy. But something. I had roots. I had tea towels and wooden spoons and some idea of how to behave in public. It is Thursday. 2 years ago tomorrow I sat with her while she died. On Saturday am I held her hand for the last time.
I carry things forward. I pass on things, share care and concern. I make a friend, whose mother is dying, meals. Send thank you cards, still dress appropriately. In many ways, she is no more dead than she was in all of those years that she wouldn’t talk to me. Except when the last of the coffee mugs that she bought me broke, I lost the ability to breathe.
I can go buy more tea towels, wooden spoons. I can order them from amazon and never leave my house. A coffee mug is just a piece of ceramics.
Imbued by love. Tradition. The sense of how things should be. My mother wasn’t very good at it, but at least some of the time, she tried.
And I miss that. I miss her. I miss roots.