It’s January again and our last family hours together, as we were, are what I think about most intently in the quiet moments from Christmas to January 5th, the day you died. The sun has broken through the dense and days long winter clouds as I write this — one of my special ways of knowing you are thinking of me, too.
The morning you died was bright and warm, and you had woken early, as you liked to, and asked Jeff to get you a cookie while on his coffee run. We marvel about that now, it’s one of our stories. How your nonexistent appetite suddenly turned and you wanted, of all things, a cookie! It’s a funny sort of comfort, to know about that little conversation in the kitchen with Jeff and your request. That you had the strength to get out of bed and share a little moment when the time was nigh. Then, shortly after 9:00 a.m., the cookie unprocured, you died, with us gathered around your bed.
I like to mark these days, the 4th and 5th especially, with little commemorations and rituals in your memory. Like a birthday’s welcome and hello, a deathday’s goodbye and thank you. 2020 is the sixth anniversary of your death, and also a Sunday, which it was when you died. And, significantly, it is Mom’s birthday — hello and goodbye, celebration and gratitude — always together now.
I also relish knowing what other family members and friends are doing in remembrance and celebration of you, when we can’t be together. These are a few of the ways I’m commemorating this year:
- a votive candle by your photo
- this blog post
- writing about this time in my journal
- asking family who were there to share a memory with me of the last day of your life
- conversing with family and friends who want to reminisce
- watching the video Jeff made for your memorial
- attending Epiphany mass, as we did on January 5, 2014
- going for a meditative walk, weather permitting
- drinking tea in a china teacup
- watching one of your favorite movies
- eating oranges, as we did the day you died
- burning a fire in the hearth and reading your handwritten words.