My dear friends,
As many of you know, today is the 10th anniversary of this blog and the Riversiders started to prepare for the greatest party of their lives in anticipation, last month.
It is with a very heavy heart that I have to tell you the saddest news of our lives. The Riversiders and I will not be celebrating today, because last Sunday, on April 18, my mother passed away after a long and courageous struggle with cancer.
The photo above features Matilda Mandrake, because she was one of my mother's favourite Riversiders. Today, I took Matilda, Jemima and Quackie to the cemetery for a visit to my mother's grave. I would like to share these photographs with you in addition to a few thoughts.
She is now buried next to the beech tree you can see in the pictures further below.
In the first three photos, Matilda is sitting amid a wreath of Ranunculus - one of my mother's favourite flowers - and on top of the beautiful pink urn which contains her ashes and was sunk into the earth this Monday.
Although I am a grown woman, and even knowing my mother's death would some day be inevitable, I always felt her loss would mean that my own life would end too. It might sound silly to many of you, but I just could not help it. I am not sure what I thought would happen. Probably that I would become ill due to the grief and wither away.
I will never be able to look into my mother's eyes and talk to her face to face again. Never again will I be able to kiss her warm cheek or hold her hand and share any type of news with her. But, strangely, although my mother died on the 18th, I have already survived a week and three days without her. Right now, I am alive and I am not ill.
I am certain that in a way my life really has ended. A chapter of my life, I mean. It will never be the same and I will always feel the difference between my life now and the way that it felt when my mother was still here.
I'm not sure why, but some people (even those that have lost a person most dear to them) tell me, "Rejoice, your mother is no longer suffering!", as if this were the only issue that gave us any sorrow.
I am very, very grateful that my mother is now free from the frailty and pain that the illness inflicted upon her. Because the suffering was intense and there was no other way out and she deserves to be well.
But although death came as a merciful release for her, for my father and I the long work of mourning has only just begun, and we will always miss her and feel the piercing stab of her absence.
Rest in peace Mama, or maybe you prefer to party?
Whatever the case, I wish you the best of times wherever you are now.
This blog entry is for you.
I love you. But you already know that.