How do you say Good bye to your mother for probably the last time?
Stroke her hair
Hold her hand
Gently rub her feet
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 ‘
‘ It’s time, go to sleep when you are ready’
Repeat. and repeat
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.
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.