The calendar says that today marks the one-year anniversary of my mom's death, so it must be true. But the cliche "It seems like only yesterday" is also true. The details of the hours, days, and weeks before she died are still so clear, and I replay them in my mind so often, that it does seem like a very short time since we lived through them.
Here is the verse Dad chose for the memoriam to be placed in the newspaper today:
You've just walked on ahead of me, and I've got to understand,
We must release the ones we love and let go of their hand.
I try and cope the best I can, but I'm missing you so much;
If only I could see you and once more feel your touch.
You just walked on ahead of me: don't worry, I'll be fine.
But now and then, I swear I feel your hand slip into mine.
This little poem is kind of sentimental, but I can see why Dad chose it. He and Mom were married for 55 years and knew each other pretty much since they were born, growing up only a mile away from each other. I remember once when I was a kid, completing some questionnaire for school, and one of the questions we had to ask our parents was "How did you meet?" Dad answered, "We never met -- we were always together." To let go after a lifetime together is not easy.
My sister-in-law Carolyn is in the same place today that I was one year ago: watching and waiting. Her mom is making the transition from this life to the next, saying goodbye to people she loves, and being released by them. It's hard. Nothing really prepares you for the experience of being there by the bedside, saying final words and knowing every breath the person takes could be the last. I can only imagine what Mom herself experienced as she crossed over.
Thinking of her as "just walking on ahead" is comforting. Mom was not a trend-setter or a risk-taker by any means, but she set out on her final journey with courage. Dad is facing his path bravely, too. I admire them both.
Missing you today, Mom. Someday we'll join you where you are. Don't worry about what's in the cupboard or whether the beds are made. Although we wouldn't mind a fresh batch of scones...