Tuesday, December 01, 2009


That's my Mom in the picture. She had a lot of health problems most of her life, starting with, and probably stemming from polio when she was four. Because of it, she lost the use of one of her legs and walked with crutches for the rest of her life. While she got around fairly well when she was younger, by the time I came along her body was pretty well used up from a lifetime of overuse to compensate for the lack of her left leg. Not surprisingly, she also suffered from severe depression.

What I remember about vacations and outings with my parents when I was a kid is how she usually had to wait behind in the truck, because she couldn't get up the stairs to the museum, couldn't go hiking on the trail, couldn't walk on the sandy beach. There was no "accessibility" at the time.

Among various other ailments, she had cancer for 14 years. I never really thought she would die, though. My favourite joke was that you couldn't kill her with an axe. But last year she got a lot worse, and I couldn't believe it when I got a call at work on a Wednesday in July that she wasn't expected to last the day.
In true Mom fashion, she did last the day, though, and the next, passing away at about 2 minutes after midnight on the following Friday morning.

She suffered a lot in her 71 years, and her passing was a blessing, an end to her awful suffering. It was a relief. But I was surprised by how hard it hit me.
I buried some of her ashes between her parent's graves, as she had wanted, but I saved most of them. In honour of the woman who had to wait behind in the truck, I started taking some of her ashes along with me on my summer travels. I spread some of her ashes in my favourite places: at the lookout on the Coppermine trail in Fundy National Park, in Kouchibouguac National Park, at Peggy's Cove, and into the Northumberland Strait at West Point, PEI from a sandy beach with a beautiful lighthouse. They're all places she was never able to visit because of her leg.

I also considered discreetly sprinkling some of her in Costco, since that was probably her favourite place in the world, but decided against it, since it's a bit, well, gross. And I want to take some of her to Cuba next month when Peter and I go on vacation, but I'm not sure about sneaking human remains on an international flight.

There's a surprising amount of her left in the wooden box under my bed. I keep it hidden, because although the Boy knows Grandma went to heaven, he doesn't know about cremation, and I'm pretty sure he's not ready for that conversation ("Grandma got burned up?!").
So I'm going to keep taking bits her whenever I go somewhere that she couldn't. She couldn't go anywhere in life, but she's seeing the world now.

I love you, Mom. I miss you.


Blogger Librarian Girl said...

That's a beautiful post.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

I'm sorry to hear about your Mom's death. Your tribute was lovely.

(I'm just catching up... I didn't realize you'd begun bloging again.)

1:00 PM  

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