Come, come with me out to the old churchyard,
I so well know those paths ‘neath the soft green sward.
Friends slumber in there that we want to regard;
We will trace out their names in the old churchyard.
Today marks three years, to the day, since my mom passed away. I want to sit down here and say something about it, but off and on today I’ve struggled with what exactly that could be.
That day, a Sunday, I got a text in the morning from my Dad, who had been keeping bedside vigil as Mom’s breathing had slowed considerably in the previous few days. He had wanted to go home and freshen up, but was adamant that Mom shouldn’t be alone; would I mind going over for a short time? I said yes, and brought my ukulele to sing with her awhile. I don’t remember all of the songs I picked, but one was definitely the Israel Kamakawiwoʻole version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Since their first visit to Hawaii, Mom had fallen in love with Iz’s music, so it seemed appropriate.
My brief journal entry from those days indicates she wasn’t responsive anymore, but I like to think she heard me.
Dad came back after less than an hour. I ended up going for lunch with my brothers, and as we sat in the restaurant deciding what to do next, we got the message that she was gone.
Mourn not for them, their trials are o’er,
And why weep for those who will weep no more?
For sweet is their sleep, though cold and hard
Their pillows may be in the old churchyard.
Mom had an easy, bright smile and I loved making her laugh. Her cooking and baking were legendary among friends and family. She was patient and kind, though reserved around others for much of her life. She loved coffee with good people, road trips with Dad, hidden-object puzzles on the computer, and those cheesy Christian romance novels about Amish women looking for love. She taught me much about listening to others, about the importance of music, and about never turning your back on the people you love. She used to tell me I was a “genius” when I’d fix stuff on her computer or solve difficult puzzles in her games. My own struggles with self-esteem didn’t often let me believe her — I’d brush it off with attempted humility — but I really think she meant it.
I miss her a lot today.
I rest in the hope that one bright day
Sunshine will burst to these prisons of clay,
And old Gabriel’s trumpet and voice of the Lord
Will wake up the dead in the old churchyard.
Thing I Saw: The rest of my journals from That Time, which I haven’t really looked at in quite a while. One thing I wrote near the end of my Jan.22/17 entry was “[I] Suspect I am nowhere near over this.” No, you weren’t, 2017-Nathan. But you’ll still be ok.
Thing I Learned: There’s a tabletop RPG called Monster of the Week that uses the same basic principles as the Dungeon World game I ran last year with the Whatevertown guys, only it’s based around urban fantasy and a gang of folks investigating/defeating monsters like on Supernatural or The X Files. Our group is set to get back together next week and I’m wondering if I should suggest a subject matter pivot…
I’m Grateful For: Lori, who’s been incredibly gentle and understanding about the significance of today, and who went out of her way to pick up my favourite cinnamon bun for a surprise snack.