‘Till next time

There’s no other way to say it than to say it: Mom passed away last week.

She’d been up & down and things weren’t getting better; but we’d been there before, collectively holding our breath.  And then the little bit would rally and surprise us all, over and over again.

Oldest sister sat with her last Sunday and they talked frankly about things; thankfully Mom made her own choices about being moved from the nursing home to the hospital.  “No way,” she said emphatically.  But the meds weren’t working as they had before.  Sissy asked if she was tired and Mom said yes, yes she was.  Sissy told her it was OK to rest that she would sit with her and she did. She asked about calling the others. Mom’s response was a typical Mom response, “Don’t believe that’s necessary.”  Sissy did anyway and they all visited the next day.  The morning after that, Mom slipped quietly away.

Even when you expect it, there’s no way to prepare for the loss of someone you love. You can’t.  All you can do hold on as hard as you can and brace yourself for the waves of grief that are sure to come. Some are Tsunamis, some are ankle nippers.  You try not to drown.  I’m still there, some days floating, other days gasping.

I had booked flights for my nephew’s wedding at the end of July; our oldest son’s wedding is this Saturday.  It was so like her to slip off before all that – not wanting to cause a fuss. It was so like her to put space between those milestones so as not to tamper anyone’s joy.

Tickets have been changed, I’ll leave sooner.

She wanted to be cremated and for us to hold a service “when it made sense.”  That was also so her. We laugh about how, even now, she’s still ‘large & in charge.’  Sobs come through our stories.

We’ll have a service at the grave site then a gathering in the town hall with several hundred people followed by a lunch. There’s no church big enough!!  And not having everything this week or next gives people time to come.  And they are. By the droves.  Not just locally but from all over Canada & the U.S. as well.   Mom was well-known and loved; friends & family want the opportunity to tell their stories and pay their respects.  I’ve tried to help where I can, making phone calls, sending photos, and just being part of things.  But I know when I step off the plane that grief will hit me in the face like a wet towel.  Drafting her obituary last night stung but I was  honored to do so.

As sad as I am and as much as I’ll miss her I know she’s free.  She’s with Dad on a date night, holding the winning ticket to a fast horse, enjoying a hot Rye, her purse just a-swinging.    I smile knowing Frankie’s tucked up under Heaven’s kitchen table getting fatter by the second; she always called that dog “the Gentleman.”  Her Mom and Dad are there, she’s with other pals and family.  Farm dogs, barn kitties and ponies we’ve lost along the way are all snuggled up close to her. How can we be sad at that?

Mom and Dad with one of their winning horses - and a date night. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

Mom and Dad with one of their winning horses – and a date night. An Emjayandthem(C) photo

No, the sadness, that’s for us. The sadness comes in knowing we have to wait to see her again. And I’m not that patient.

But mixed with the grief is the gratitude: for all who she was, all that she did, and how deeply we loved her.

I’ve lived far from home for 32+ years. She and I enjoyed many happy visits, there, here, other places, plus other trips and adventures. We had a thing: we never said “good-bye” we always said, “’till next time.”  The last time I was home with her, when it came time to leave for the airport, she stood to hug me and laid her head on my chest. We stood quietly like that, her head on me, me supporting her, and her hugging me tightly. I’ll never forget that hug.  Breaking apart we looked each other in the eyes and said “till next time.”   She smiled and I smiled and headed out the door.

Soon my siblings and cousins, aunties and friends will gather – we’ll share her stories and we’ll sing her songs.  We’ll find ourselves saying the things she would have said. We’ll sip on a Rye and we’ll reflect on the gift of a Mother happy to be one.  On the gift that was her.


“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~ Kahlil Gibran  









Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Determination, Faith, Family, Gratitude, Grief, Growth, Home, Life, Love, Mom, Personal, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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21 thoughts on “‘Till next time

  1. I celebrate her life with you, and send my thoughts and understanding for your sorrow..

  2. I am so sorry. I feel like I know her through your blog stories. She was a wonderful Mom!

  3. It’s been five years and more since my own mother passed away. I thought the grief was gone, but reading your words here, it’s as alive as it was that day. Perhaps moreso, actually, because there was a good bit of numbness at that time, too.

    Blessings to you as you move through the present, into a different future. We are who we are, for good and sometimes for ill, because of our parents. She surely shaped you well — you’re her living legacy.

  4. hj

  5. Been thinking about you ever since I heard the news…both of us have. you and your mom have been a topic of conversation more than once in the household. I would talk about you and her going to that wedding last August, and some of the other stories you’ve shared. big hug from both of us. DM

  6. What a beautiful tribute to your sweet mother. You’ve worded it perfectly. Thoughts are with you as you celebrate the happy at your son’s wedding and the sad at your mom’s memorial.

  7. Prayers for you and your family’s grief … through tears knowing my Mom’s time to depart is near .. God Bless

  8. Oh I am so sorry! I can only imagine what you’re going through…I’ve loved the posts you’ve done about your mom, sharing her humor, her feisty spirit, her wisdom. Blessings as you say your goodbyes to her, and celebrate her life with family and friends. Just know you are held up with love and prayer. ~ Sheila

  9. I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. You’ve got a lot of very big stuff coming up with weddings and the funeral. I know you’ll get through, but remember to take care of yourself along the way. Frankly, I’m envious of your relationship with your mother; that you had such a lovely one. So many great memories and stories to cherish. Let the tears and love flow.

  10. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    Just in the writing of this blog, MJ, says how very much you loved and love your Mom. Please know you and family are in my heart and prayers. May our Lord give you all the peace and comfort you need to get through this great loss

  11. Prayers to you and your family. Peace be with you.

  12. What a lovely memorial you’ve written. She was a special mom, that’s for sure, because of who you grew up to be.

  13. Oh, MJ. I’m so, so sorry for the loss of your mom. I feel as if I had come to know her through all of the beautiful words you’d written about her. I smiled through so many of your stories, and felt the warmth of her love through your eyes. She was a beautiful soul, for sure. I know it’s sadness that prevails right now, but I sense your peace as well. She is in a good place now. Hugs and love to you, my friend.

  14. I’m deeply sorry for your loss. She sounds like an incredible woman. Wishing you peace and comfort and lots of love as you grieve. Take care of yourself.

  15. So I’m just sitting here in the lobby…waiting for my trucks oil to be changed and I’m wiping away tears before they run down my cheeks. Thanks for making me look mental!! Kidding aside, you and your family have been in my prayers. Take care of yourself. You have so much on your plate and many irons in your fire. What a whirlwind summer and extreme emotions. Don’t let your tank run dry. Take some time for you.

  16. Tears here too MJ…your memories and stories of your Mom. I am so sorry for your loss.

  17. So sorry for your loss, I hope you can take it one day, one hour, one moment at a time. Grief does that to you.

  18. cooper

    My condolences and prayers for you and the family. Hugs.

  19. Rose

    Hi Emjay–my deepest sympathy to you and your family. Been thinking about you and knew you had your son’s wedding and another family wedding coming up soon, I’m sure that it’s been hard for you. Take care of yourself and know that we’re all sending you love and prayers. Keep us posted how you’re doing when you have a chance to catch your breath,

  20. Leah Singer

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  21. Pingback: The price we pay | Emjayandthem's Blog

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