Tuesday, 6 November 2012

They Visit Me

They Visit Me…

Sometimes my mother, father, and my sister Clara come to visit me. This is not a normal occurrence as they have, one by one, passed on from this world into the afterlife. Their visits are difficult to describe but imagine a warm familiar blanket of feeling enveloping you. One would think that this should simply be a joyous affirmation of the gloriousness that is out there waiting for us when our time comes, an afterlife that we will feel connected to in a very personal way.

But there’s sadness too, at least there is for me. For as much as they are here in spirit, their visit is also a painful reminder that I can no longer spend time with them as I once did. Those days are gone. So I am left with an ache that is both beautiful and sad.The night before one of my uncles passed away, I sat alone in the stillness of the evening, and felt their presence, they had come to visit. Unable to interact and filled with longing, I put a photo of my father up as my facebook profile photo and posted old tunes I found onYoutube that reminded me of days long gone. When my sister Heather called the next morning to tell me that our uncle had passed away, I marveled at how little we know of the unknown and yet how real it is. And while I see the grace and majesty in that, it also leaves me feeling orphaned all over again.

So what would I say if we could speak?  Is what I want to speak to those in the afterlife? No. What I long for is to go back and visit the old days, for as much as there were some very dark times in all the stages of our lives, there were also times of simple joy.  I miss those times. I miss sitting and listening to my parents tell stories of how life was back in the days of their childhood. I miss working side-by-side with my father on his latest puzzle. I miss hearing him whistle and talk softly to his cats.  I miss watching my father tending his garden with such loving care. I miss the sight and smell of his yearly bountiful harvest of tomatoes. None were wasted! Come the end of the summer, as soon as those juicy plump globes had a tiny bit of red on their skin they were each wrapped in newspaper and piled on dining room table and buffet and hutch to ripen to perfection.

I, my siblings, and my eldest children have many happy memories of pulling back newsprint in search of edible ruby red treasures.

I miss hearing my mother’s latest juicy gossip and seeing her eyes light up with amusement as she listened to my latest adventures. I miss hearing her learned wisdoms - some passed down from her elders, some learned by her the hard way. And I miss watching her knit what must have been her millionth pair of brilliantly coloured Phentax slippers. How my mother loved colour. She loved it in everything. In yarn, in clothing, in flowers ... in stories.

And ooh, how I miss making apple pies with my sister Clara.Every year I would go apple picking with the kids and arrive at Clara’s with countless bags full.  She would have picked up the supplies for pastry earlier. And we would spend the entire day in the kitchen, talking and laughing and preparing oodles and oodles of pies for the freezer. My mother, father and Uncle Joe would take turns dropping in to get the latest count of how many were made by such and such a time and report it to all the locals in the community.

I so miss Clara. Her love was constant and left a permanent impression on every soul she encountered. In such a quiet way she ministered daily to a wide and varied assortment of lonely folk and stray animals. Every day they all found their way to her door and never left without some loving care:a cuppa tea or coffee and something to eat (and quite often an apple pie).

(On the left me as a blonde and on the right my beautiful sister Clara)
So, nothing exciting. Just a smattering of small moments, but they were mine and now they are no more.  Like my mother, my father, and Clara, those moments are out of reach ~ out of my touch. Alive in my memory but fleeting and impossible to hold. And today, I’m feeling it

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