Monday, 12 May 2014

Mother's Day.

One afternoon, on the end of a phone conversation over 3000 km away,
my brother muttered,  "Maybe she just loved us too much".
If any words were possible to capture the impact of the loss of our mother,
and the awful aftermath of that loss, I think this statement sums it up.
She just loved us too much.
And her death was impossible to take.
It is impossible to take.
And yet, she is still here, but not quite, in every moment, a chance to remember.  I keep expecting her to show up, casually, at my door...and I wonder if that feeling ever goes away.
Her greatest fear is that we would forget her….and during some moments, that might be easier.
She would treasure and speak highly of her friends who took time for her in her final years on this earth.  I knew who loved her, and who brushed her aside, and it was staggering and heart breaking.  I knew who stood by her side, who listened, who took the time.  All she ever really wanted was time. 
She wasn't willing to stop caring or quit trying to help others, often doing astounding things, like running over 60km in a day, with her friend, Henny, in his fight to bring awareness of racism and inequality, mentoring a child in her community with Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteering during her illness, bringing soup to a friend suffering with the flu or a cold, or just lend an ear to those who needed it at the end of a terrible day.
Through her experience, I learned a lot about what matters, who matters and when it is important to care.
It's a tricky thing, that caring and loving part. 
This is my favorite photo of my mother, taken in 1973...sitting on the beach, outside of Amsterdam, by the North Sea, with her friend Ellen, Ellen's sisters and father.  She was on a student exchange, with her whole life ahead of her.  She's in the middle of the group, wearing the long scarf, Ellen, is sitting beside her, wearing glasses.
I love the confidence and strength in her face, and what Ellen wrote on the back of the photo:
"You look like you are wanting to say, don't undervalue me babe, as a Canadian, wait and you'll see something you've never seen before."

Happy Mother's day to all, those near to us in our hearts, new mothers, mothers far across the ocean, and next to us, in the same room, and to the mothers lost and found.