When our eldest child finished school in 2010, we decided to torture the children by taking them overseas for a month, live in a little French village for 3 weeks, without internet or McDonalds, and enjoy a foreign culture, and learn about some World War II history. It had been a rough year with the death of both my mother and my father-in-law in the space of five months, and the trip was welcome. The anniversary of the Normandy landings is 6 June and since that trip I have been quite fascinated by the planning and execution of this battle, and the liberation of France.
This week is one for anniversaries of two D-Days.
My mother died on 10 June 2010. Today is the anniversary of her death. The events of that morning are indelibly printed on my mind and it took me many months with some professional help, to stop seeing her dead body every tine I closed my eyes. Nothing in life, and especially no number of Law and Order episodes, will ever prepare you for having to identify the body of a loved one, or see them taken out of their home in a body bag.
I long ago stopped being sad about the sudden nature of her death – it was, as Dad said at the time, a good way to die; suddenly and without any warning. Shocking for those left behind but a blessing for the deceased. Dad, ever faithful, said he was grateful to God for taking Mum the way he did, as he could not have borne her becoming sick or having a stroke. He hopes the same will happen to him.
I wonder what Mum would be like if she hadn’t died – how she would be with Dad becoming frail and worrying about him. But they would have been together, keeping each other company. She would have adored being a great-grandma, spoiling them in her own way by making pikelets and sprinkling sugar on them, cooking rice puddings, and making sure there were leftover rissoles in case they visited, and keeping her ‘brag book’ of photos up to date to show all the people at church.
That was not to be regrettably, although Dad is keeping his ‘brag books’ of his now two great-granddaughters. However, I do know she would be so proud of Dad coping with all the changes in his life since she died, and hopefully proud of her children for taking care of him, and loving him the way we do.