This has been a year of firsts which, inevitably after someone's death, follows a year of lasts. This is the first mother's day without my mother. The picture above is, I think, the last picture we had together. It was on a walk a few days before I returned to Australia in late April last year. By this time today in May, Mom was back in hospital with a recurrent infection. We had several walks like this in the time we had last April. On this one or another, we sat on a bench and she said that she was okay if she had to go—that she had lived a good life and was content with whatever was to come. I'm content too; I dearly miss her, but in some ways one can't argue the point of contentment with a dying person. We bring who we are to this life and, if given that opportunity in our passing, we have first opinion in the matter as we go. I can try to rationalise a peace right now by considering how mom was going and the likelihood that, had she lived till now, she would probably be very ill, that her quality of life would be poor, etc. But, that's almost beside the point. She wasn't expressing contentment about dying just as an escape from pain; she was content because I think she genuinely felt she had a good life and was fulfilled in it. She said, of course, she wished she had more time but that would be the wish of anyone living a contented life. I'm just thankful she had the time and opportunity to express this as we transitioned through our lasts and firsts.
As these times come, I'm realising a lot about language and assumptions we have. I overheard someone on Friday say something to the extent of 'well if we don't have children, at least we all have mothers.' In these past weeks, I've seen a lot of advertisements about not 'forgetting mom' on mother's day. Previously it somehow didn't readily occur to me that, wait, not everyone has a mother. I suppose it's human nature to take for granted that one's mother is always there because she always has been. Do consider for a moment how acute that loss can feel for those who have lost a mother on a day like today (and equally for women who would want to be mothers but can't or who have lost children).
But, today I won't 'forget mom'; I was back in the States last month walking in the same garden, sitting on the same bench. From all I can sense, she continues walking in contentment with everyone who loved her in this life as we walk on in ours.