In memoriam: I am at sea without her soundings

My child-heart cries out, selfishly, as I sob:

“Mommy! Mommy? I want my mommy!”

Who will help me? Who else will love me so selflessly and endlessly, and do anything for me, simply because she can?

“My heart is broken, Mommy. Who can help me now, when it is your loss I mourn?”

I feel so shockingly alone without my mother’s presence in the background, always so capable, energetic, and willing.

How is grief different from self-pity?

 Memorial display: teddy bear, eyeglasses, cross, photoBut there’s a wiser voice offering a tempering perspective.

I really need my mother! I’m hurt because I’m broken. I ache where there’s something lost.

She’s a node in the network of friends and family; connections may have been severed. All the work she did there must be taken up by another; the strings of the web must be gathered and tied back in. I am at sea without her soundings.

Vaguely humanoid stack of stones on a promontory in the North Atlantic Ocean

Mom is an intricately delicate moving part at the center of the machinery of my life. Part of the heart, part of the soul, part of the mechanism of how I function. This must be mended for life to be whole, happy, workable.

Something has broken in me, and that’s what grief is.

Repairs may be rough or patchy; some bits may never be the same.

This, then, is the work of the motherless child: to set her scarred vessel on its course again. Whenever, however, that may be.

Viking style long boat beached alongside Irish lake

And, someday, I’ll go on.

Not quite as before, perhaps, but on the same headings my mother’s guidance helped me choose so long ago. My journey hasn’t changed, but I’ve lost a dear companion.

Mom died on July 11, 2019, at home with her husband and children. She will be sorely missed.

4 thoughts on “In memoriam: I am at sea without her soundings

  1. Beautiful words expressing your loss. Right when I think I’m done crying it starts up again. Little things like your mom’s childhood table and chairs that sit in our living room now, the blanket she made [my daughter that] she sleeps with every night, the books that belonged to your mom that I read to [my daughter], anything Christmas related, the list goes on.💔

  2. Heart-breaking, true and beautiful writing on such a hard topic. Your mother, עליה השלום, shared her heart, herself and her home with so many, including me, and I will be forever grateful.

  3. I won’t, can’t like this, and nothing can be said to ease your pain, just keep going as best you can, lean on people you trust, share your memories…

    So, how long do we live after all?
    And how much can we live—and reap the bounty—while we live?
    We fret and ask so many questions—
    then when it comes to us
    the answer is so simple after all.

    Somebody will live for as long as they are carried with us,
    for as long as we carry the harvest of their dreams,
    for as long as we ourselves live,
    holding memories in common, life continues.

    Much love, and heartfelt sympathy, from a complete stranger.

  4. Dearest Willo. The richness and beauty of your writing reflects the depth of your grief. Your mom’s beautiful and kind smile, her sweet and joyful voice are forever imprinted in my heart. I feel honored to have known her. Please know that you are a wonderful reflection of her in so many ways. Sending love and blessings. Luba.

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