I call this the department of closing the book, but I realize it won't truly be that. When people we love leave, closure doesn't mean shutting a door. It means making an agreement between between our heart and memory, that it's alright to forget for days and weeks at a time,that it's just fine to be happy and to go forward, because the ones we love want us to stay in the world.
In terms of this journal, it's closure, because this will probably be the last time I speak about Mum for a while. Thanks to all of you who listened since Oct. 27; who gave me hugs and offered sympathy and who took the time to listen as I talked about her. You people are treasures, plain and simple. Here is one last thing I offer you about Mary Glen - the eulogy I wrote and gave at her funeral. As Bob said, it was distilled in large part from the outpouring I wrote in the first minutes after I learned she had died. but the distillation made it a different thing.
She Was Made of Love
My mother is beautiful.
When I was a very little girl, and I looked at her smile, her soft hair that seemed so golden to me, her eyes, huge behind her glasses – it was clear she was the most beautiful woman in the world. She's the reason I always thought glasses made you pretty. I know she didn't think so – but she was wrong. At no point in her life was she ever less than lovely. The last time I saw her, sitting on the side of her hospital bed, I saw my beautiful Mum, just as I'd seen her so many years ago.
My mother is brave, and tough.
She grew up in the lean years of the depression and was a teenager in World War II, when boys went off in uniform and came back as names on cenotaph plaques. She married, had two babies, then had to walk away from that dream. She fought tooth and nail for her children. She came home, and helped support not only them but her parents. She worked nights, she battled loneliness, she pinched pennies, she put herself aside, and she simply thought it was what anyone would have done. I know differently; I know it takes a special kind of hero to do what she did. A stubborn, occasionally pigheaded, fearless, wonderful hero.
My mother is a dreamer.
Why do I love fantasy and science fiction? Because my mother did. The books I read as a young girl, she often read first. Even when she stopped – perhaps because she thought responsible adults shouldn't read that crazy stuff – she never thought I should stop. She bought me books and she never laughed at me. Years later, she rekindled her love of fantasy. She read Tolkien, and was a devoted Harry Potter fan. I think it's because she saw the magic in everything.
My mother is a healer.
Mum told me nursing had been a choice made for her, not her own – how lucky for this world, then, that someone saw her potential. A nurse needs to be tough; to know when to throw open the curtains and chivvy a patient onto the road to recovery, or to tell a young inexperienced doctor that he's doing it wrong. A nurse is delicate with the dying; gentle when caring for sick babies and frightened children; has firm hands; no fear of blood or messy medical reality. A good nurse is flint and flexibility, humor and heart. That was Mum.
My mother is a poet and a singer.
She never thought she was, but every time she wrote me a letter, or sent me little notes about things she had pondered, I saw the rhythms of a poet in her sentences, the imagery she wove unconsciously into everything she wrote. Any gift I have as a writer, I got from her. Her singing voice was like her speaking voice, a sweet, resonant alto. She sang with my Nana, she sang in the car, in the choir and in the Sweet Adelines. During my last visit with her, sitting in the hospital, we put our heads together and we sang, just a little, and we smiled at each other.
My mother is kind.
I don't need to tell any of you that. I don't need to tell any of you how big her heart was. So I won't. Just search your memories; each of you will have your own story of Mary Glen's hospitality, her helpfulness, and her humanity. Remember them, and be enriched by them.
My mother is a believer.
God is so lucky to have someone who loves him so much.
My mother was, and is, love.
Love was knit into her sinews and bones. I was blessed to have her. We all were. We all are – because we still have her. Mum, I miss you terribly; my grief is my selfish desire to have you back right here, right now. But you're out of pain, you're back in charge, and I'll see you when I get there.
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