Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 267: for Mum.

Today is my Mother's birthday. It is also the day five years ago that we laid her to rest, celebrating her life with a funeral of which I believe she would have approved. It was a well run event, all of her children spoke, and spoke well (Mum believed in rehearsal and good delivery). There was laughter, there were many tears, and the music was beautiful. What I love about Mum's transition from this state of life into whatever is next, is its poetry. To both come into the world and celebrate one's leaving of it on the very same day 61 years apart, presents a level of refined timing entirely suited to my mother; suitable because of her own fine appreciation of language, style, theme and narrative. I love the fact that her story, for all the pain she might have experienced at the end, was so beautifully finished. Indeed too, it was a poem I read at her funeral, one I had written for her 60th birthday the year before as part of a birthday poem-writing tradition she had begun. Mum was a linguist, a teacher and a Master of Arts; her life was beautifully bookended, her parting shot cleverly woven with words and theme, subtle lessons and a quiet chuckle at this pretty, funny life. Was it all coincidence? Isn't that kind of the point?
Anyway, back in the golden days when I had the luxury of calling Mum on the phone to lament about my semi-adult problems, she once suggested I give up alcohol altogether. How is it that mothers always know what is best for their babies? At the time I thought the idea was a good one, if preposterous. Today, sitting on this side of sobriety, I think my Mum would be happy? Relieved maybe, that I am now taking a less reckless approach to my health, safety and life in general. Mum too was always one of the more adamant supporters of my musical aspirations. "You simply must do it Claire, you must." And gosh, how I miss her. There are so many things I would like her opinion on, so many questions I still have to ask, good books and funny things I would like to send her way. But there is no point in wishing for what cannot be. Instead I should be happy that, together with Dad, she gave me the skills to form my own opinions, to find solutions to my problems, and to appreciate and enjoy the good things I encounter. So thank you Mum, and happy birthday. I will continue to endeavour to make you proud.


  1. Oh Claire, you just made me cry! At my desk!
    So beautifully written. I'm sure your mum would be very, very proud.

  2. wow, welling up and goosebumps ... xo

  3. I'm late to this quest of yours Claire, but that is a beautiful post.
    mike hyde