Today is Good Friday, and tonight will mark the thirtieth anniversary of my mother’s passing. Next week, I’ll mark the actual date, but she died in the wee hours between Good Friday and Holy Saturday – a time of vigil, a time of waiting – and so I always keep this night as a remembrance.
Thirty years. That seems impossible. In many ways, it feels like it was just a few days ago. So much has changed in my life since she passed.
I was twenty-five and floundering a bit. I had a degree I wasn’t really doing anything with and I was in a less-than-healthy relationship. One of the biggest regrets of my life is that my mother didn’t live long enough to see the direction my life eventually took. While I do believe she’s always with me, it’s not quite the same as having her there to see it.
JK Rowling has spoken often about how her mother’s death from multiple sclerosis changed everything as she wrote the first Harry Potter book. Death and loss became a central theme of the books and I would have to agree that my mother’s death had a similar and profound effect on me.
Twenty-three of these thirty years have been spent with my partner, and I think my mom would have liked her, would have been happy to see me settled with this woman who will be my partner until death comes to take one of us on to wait for the other.
My mom understood me like no one else, and she used to tease me that I was something only a mother could love. Looking back, I have to agree.
My father has been gone for three years, and I miss him as well. Being parentless is a funny thing, no matter how old we are. It makes you feel like a child again.
I’ve written before about how I keep this vigil, and how when I was a child, we had to stay quietly in our rooms during the hours of noon to three on Good Friday, the traditional hours of the Crucifixion. I can’t do that as I’m working today, so I’m using my lunch break to reflect on these things.
Below are links to two songs I love. One is a link to one of my favorite Gregorian chants – from the Requiem Mass. Although the words in translation (Day of Wrath) aren’t particularly comforting, “Dies Irae, Dies Illa” is a beautiful chant. The other is a link to “The Blessing” sung by Lisa Kelly of Celtic Woman – no explanation needed.
For those of you who celebrate Easter, I wish you a holy weekend. For those anticipating Passover next month, I wish you a peaceful time with family and friends to commemorate that historic miracle. For those who don’t look to religion for comfort, I wish you a glorious Spring.
And to those who were killed and maimed by the bombings in Brussels earlier this week – and all those who will mark that day for their own remembrance in years to come, our hearts go out to you. For those left to deal with the aftermath, I wish you the peace of healing in body and spirit.