Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged
On this day in 1998, my beautiful mother, Debbie, passed away. At 25, I have now nearly spent half my life without her. There are days when I feel closer to her since her death and others where she feels like a complete stranger. I have grown up so much in 12 years, it feels like a lifetime since she was here.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
While I am not a particularly spiritual person, I like to think that she is watching me. I am reminded by others that she would be proud of me and I truly hope that is the case. I don’t know who I would be had she not died. I am thankful for the lessons and gifts she gave to me in the years we had together. While I would have preferred for her to stick around for at least a few more years to help foster my growth through my teenage years and beyond, I am grateful for the strength her death has forced upon me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.
My very dear friend Laura came to see my show on Saturday. She and a few of my friends from middle school are the only friends of mine who actually met my mom. It’s so nice when they’re able to share their memories of her with me. I only have a handful and love to add to my collection. There are so many people in my life who I wish would have met her. It’s been so long, that I don’t even think I can convey what a caring, attentive, funny, gutsy woman she was. I believe we share similar qualities and if she were still around, I would hope that we would share in a lot of love and laughter.
My mum was a great listener and always willing to be a shoulder for people to cry on. She was hesitant to follow her own lead and bottled up many of her feelings inside. I have mentioned before that my mum recognized my candour and openness and hoped that one day she would be able to open her heart to me.
It hurts me to know that she died with so many of those thoughts, feelings and emotions closed up inside of her. On the day before she died, she confided a few things in me, but I know that it was much more deeply rooted than the short conversations we had. I have come to a place of acceptance over the last 12 years but I wish she would have told me more. I know that I couldn’t have saved her, but perhaps I could have helped to ease some of her pain.
All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
Today will be challenging, but not impossible. As I was reminded by one of my members yesterday, “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”. I think of my mom often and know that her role in my life had a profound impact on the woman I am. While it has brought forth many emotions and unanswered questions, my mum’s death taught me many things about life and myself. I know that all is as it was meant to be and hope that somewhere in the universe, she is smiling.
~Henry Scott Holland
I was given this passage while partaking in a bereavement group in high school. I came across it again a few weeks ago and fell in love with its message once again.