Categories: LifeLoss

Remembering You

Today marks the fifth anniversary of my mother’s death. And while I suppose it’s true that time eventually heals all wounds, my soul knows that there are some losses that take a piece of you with them, leaving behind a deep, deep fissure.

My mother and my daughter; summer 2003.

Most days, you carry on and the crack is small; not visible to the naked eye. Life and time continue apace, children grow (so fast!) and your life fills up with joy again. Sunsets, music, the company of loved ones, laughter;  these gifts fill your soul with light and keep your head well above the choking despair. As the years unravel, you float more and more effortlessly, and if you stand sometimes at the lip of the fissure of your grief, it is only to look down from safety and marvel at its depth.

Everyday remembrances like photographs and familiar stories are like this. Well-worn and thumbed-over, they kindle a wistful kind of fondness in the heart: oh yes, she loved to watch the birds at the feeder. Especially the little yellow ones. But there are things out there in the world that will cast you back into the chasm without warning. There are memory triggers so visceral you feel the loss afresh, as if it happened only hours or moments ago. Dreams have the power to do this, or a long-forgotten smell (White Shoulders).

Or a voice.

Last week, I had all my old home movies transferred from video tape to DVD. I have been working my way through watching these movies, marvelling at the sweetness and innocence of my daughters as babies, toddlers, preschoolers. Their blonde, blonde hair! Their piping voices! Their saggy diaper-bums!

There are memory triggers so visceral you feel the loss afresh.

And suddenly, there she was: my mother.

Her voice, her face, her mannerisms… the real her. Not a two-dimensional photograph. Not a fond memory, all sepia-toned and faraway-sounding like a scratchy vinyl record. Instead I saw my real mother, in living colour on my television. Walking, talking, holding her granddaughter and smiling at the camera. Waving. Laughing.


And just like that, the chasm gaped wide and I was falling. Falling and chasing the piece of me that I lost five years ago today.

I miss you Mom. I always will.

Kath :Katherine is a mom of two girls, a teacher and a self-described dilettante. Join her in Losing It as she shares slices of her hectic life and eclectic interests.

View Comments (8)

  • Kath what a beautiful piece of writing - I'm breathless from reading it. I'm so sorry for you, your sisters and your dad. It's such a loss. You've made me want to get my brothers videos of my mom with his son to hear her voice again. I know how deep the chasm is but what a joy to be able to see them together on film. Thinking of you today xxx

    • It really is wonderful to watch them, Sara. Go get those videos…you won't regret it. If you watch them through tears you'll be able to imagine it's Will in her arms.

  • Kath, your writing is exquisite and your love for your mom is palpable. I feel fortunate that I met your wonderful mother, and even more fortunate that I'm friends with her amazing daughters...so much of her lives on in all of you. Thinking of you and your family.

  • Oh, Katherine. I waited until I was home to read this because I knew it would make me cry. I'm thinking of you, and even if this discovery was painful, I'm glad that you have this film of her to treasure.

    • Thanks Katie. I know, it was a joy to find it…just a painful kind of joy. But then the best things in life bring a little pain along with joy, don't they?