The Bones Of The Story
The Bones Of the Story.
My parents lived in England but my mother moved over to live beside me, here in Ireland, when my father died.
I went to visit my mother’s grave today. It’s ten minutes from where I live and she died 15 years ago, but I’ve only visited it twice.
I don’t think it would bother her, that I hadn’t been. She had no belief in any afterlife or religion. She always said that she was a ‘Flat Earther’ ; said in jest, but to me it summed up her attitude to religion.
I didn’t feel any closer to her today, but I had to skirt around any thoughts about her poor body being under the ground.
I think about her often. Miss her love hugely and feel guilt at the anger I felt towards her as she deteriorated and changed beyond my nastiest nightmares. I always saw the person she had been, not the person she became as neuron after neuron folded up and died. And that was not useful. She became this other person and instead of accepting that, I railed against it, wanting the one I loved back.
I so regret that anger.
I want to leave behind me a letter to my children, absolving them from any guilt they might feel because they did, or didn’t do, something for me or with me. I possibly can’t circumvent it all like that, but it’s worth a try.
My father died 20 years before my mother and 4 days after I got married in England. I had just arrived home to Ireland from the honeymoon in London and was talking to my mother on the phone when I heard a thud in the background and her calling his name.
We went back to England for the funeral. It was a spitefully beautiful day. We were driven in the back of the funeral car to the crematorium somewhere hidden in the bowels of Surrey where the celebrant couldn’t remember my father’s name.
His ashes are buried at the crematorium, under a small plaque.We never went back
My mother was pretty shy, and moving so often must have made making friends, or even meeting people, hard.
There was one place we stayed in for 4 or 5 years and, by the time we moved, she knew the two sets of immediate neighbours and the cleaning lady. It is disrespectful to sum up someone else’s life from the viewpoint of my then blinkered adolescent eyes, but the position and aloneness of her gravestone seemed like a fitting setting for her body, surrounded by people she never got to know.