Goodbye, thank you, and awesome wonder.

img_7802-1How do you say Good bye to your mother for probably the last time?

Stroke her hair
Hold her hand
Gently rub her feet
Eye contact

She smiled in recognition when she saw me

Answer the repeated question numerous times
‘Are you my eldest daughter? Are you Mary ?’

Yes, yes I am.

In spite of the tears,
Whisper ‘  Thank you ‘
and say

‘ It’s time, go to sleep when you are ready’

Repeat. and repeat

And then
A kiss on the forehead
A last shared smile
One more look over my shoulder
A wave, turn
leave the room.

and go for my train


Later, I wrote these words to be spoken at her funeral.

Beryl’s Legacy

Mum was born in 1930, deep in the woods at a house called Brockadale Edge, in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

It feels so right and perfect that she has chosen a woodland burial, so that she has come from, and will now return to, the woods, and that we are blessed that in the future, we will be able to come back to the woods, to this lovely sacred spot, to remember her life here amongst the trees.

She has left a legacy within us all, of her love and enjoyment of nature,
Of her delight in each sunrise,
In noticing the shape of a tree against the sky,
Of watching the formation of clouds,
Of feeding and observing the garden birds, (as did her mother before her),
To exclaim with joy at the first snowdrop appearing in Spring
And of appreciating the glorious colours of the leaves in the Autumn.

The words of the hymn How Great Thou Art come to mind

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
thy power throughout the universe displayed:

When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze;

She gave us a sense of ‘ Awesome wonder’ and for this, on behalf of us all, children and grandchildren and generations to come, we say Thank you and, as we used to say, when I was away at sea for months and months , where ever you are in the world, we can still see the same moon.


17 thoughts on “Goodbye, thank you, and awesome wonder.

  1. “It feels so right and perfect that she has chosen a woodland burial, so that she has come from, and will now return to, the woods,” Wow Mary. Your mom sounds like such a lovely person and so personable. “In noticing the shape of a tree against the sky,” This is a profound gift that will be with you forever.

    I have just returned from a burial in the woods and I kept remarking how gorgeous the tree branches were. Like fingers reaching from the sky to the earth, casting shadows and offering places to climb.

    We sang “How Great Thou Art” at my mother’s service. I’m sending you my warmest love. Please be super kind to yourself in the coming months. Grief can sometimes be heavy and tiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So beautifully expressed Mary, and what a gift to other mourners, to find words that told of some of your dear mum’s personality. A woodland burial is a lovely, personal idea. As Rebecca said, be kind to yourself xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary this is a beautiful tribute to your dear mum. She sounds like a very thoughtful, observant, gentle person. What a gift to other mourners to compose these beautiful words. Be very gentle with yourself x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so beautiful, Mary. I was fighting back tears reading your thoughtful words and seeing the woods, the tree shape against the sky, the clouds, the garden birds and autumn leaves. Thank you for sharing your mom’s legacy with us. Sending lots of love your way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is lovely. I just came over from the 5things board this morning to learn more about my classmates. I lost my mom just a little over a year ago. I still ache for her but I am trying to write out her stories, to keep her alive in my heart. This post really touched me this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

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