Eighteen years ago to this day our mother stopped breathing. Her heart stopped beating.
She “left this lonely world of ours, escaped the sorrow and the pain…” Without even looking back over her shoulder. Without a greeting. Without a word. And flew again.
Oh what a void she left. It just keeps sitting there, neither shrinking nor going away. It cannot and will not, simply because she had been the only woman whose heart we had heard beating from the inside. All ten of us.
It used to beat like all the tribal drums of Africa put together: brave and strong and determined and unstoppable. Until the early morning hours of 30 May 1995.
Letting her go was the only option, what else? Yet maybe only two thirds of her life had been lived. Or three quarters. Or all?
As I watch the reeds across the road swish and sway gracefully in the sombre northwesterly wind, a contradiction comes to mind: so, too, was she… as a slender reed, a delicate stem of grass; yet also as a rock, a mountain, the ocean, the earth. Then gone.
In my dreams she is mostly silent. But surprisingly often there! Right there, in our midst. Doing whatever it was that she would be doing in my dreams or in our midst.
My heart still lurches when White Linen or Aromatics Elixir wafts by my nose.
Sometimes I distinctly hear my name called by her – ” Lise…!” and invariably swing round to respond.
Then sometimes a robin boldly, delicately hops up close and looks at me with tilted head and lilts. And goes away just as it came.
I owe her much. Not in coins or precious stones or even words of tribute. But rather in salutes and a fly-past of honour – with flags and banners flying, trumpets sounding. And I know – if I listened carefully – I would hear the triumphant and clear sound of her voice calling from the clouds “All is well, all is well with my soul!”