I am feeling this anniversary.
A year ago at this time, my mother was touchable.
A year ago at this time my mother Barbara Jane Fawcett Macaulay Forrest had determined that the pain and the ongoing struggle of remaining alive was no longer her calling.
A year ago my mother turned toward death.
My siblings and I and our children gathered by her side over the course of three months. We respected her sense of her own life and her own death. She had trained us well in this way. We wanted to hold onto her with all that we had: Her wonderful laugh, her titanic power, her tiny frame. The way she cleared her throat, her soft hands, her delight in savoring morning coffee and the newspaper, and dearest of all gifts, the way she took us all in with her eyes and heart. My mother was the center of our family. No question, ever.
She had a gentle death.
And of course, it was a precious piece of us all that passed with her into death and resurrection life.
No more are we children of a living parent. There is no grandma to mend and fuss and offer correction. There are no bran muffins and no one standing by the window to mark our comings and goings. I cannot pick up the phone to share with her a sunrise or a heart break.
But oh, the ways she lives and the ways we each live are forever more the fruit of her being. When we gather together, she is in our midst. When I pray for courage or strength, she is one of the guardians I feel amplifying my prayer. I catch glimpses of her in my mirror and I see her in the creping of my hands.
I walk these days in grief and in wonder. How is it God sparked me into the womb of my mother? How is it we raised each other? How is it I learned so much and chafed so much and wrangled so much and was blessed with so much through being my mother’s daughter?
I encountered the living Christ in the company of the woman who gave me life.
May God continue to bless and keep you, Barbara Jane.
We miss you so.