Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Death in the Family

Some of the cousins, circa 1973. Anne is seated in front of my mother. My dad is not pictured, but Jim is. We are the children.

Am back home after 4 days at Mark's place. I dropped Pearl at school and now I am trying to warm up the house and office. It's always a bit lonely and dark when I first get back home. Today is a little worse as I am reflecting on the recent death of Anne Ironside. Thoughts of death and loss abound. I'm tripping on them.

She is not technically my aunt. One of our long-running family exchanges featured this discussion about how we called them Uncle Jim and Aunt Anne for convenience and we would lapse into the discussion of the second cousins once removed thing which was the accurate description of our familial relationship. Jim is my dad's first cousin and I think their relationship was more brotherly, they have always stayed connected, their mothers were sisters. They both went to the University of Edinburgh. Jim was a surgeon, my dad went into Anesthesia. Jim married Anne after he moved to Vancouver in the 60's and she is the mother of my two girl second cousins, Andrea and Cybele. Andrea is my age and I have always known her. So Anne was my second cousins wife and she died on Saturday of complications associated with liver disease, many sad complications. She was 72.

Today I am wading around in this knowledge that she is gone and now Andrea is just like me, motherless. It was hard to call her to offer consolation because really there is nothing that can console this particular loss. You feel it in your body, in your DNA, in your womb, your bloodstream, around our brains, and in our lungs. It's so deep and feels so endless and enormous. A big empty hole blasted through your whole being.

Gently, somewhere in the journey of this horrendous realization, the pain steps away and in it's place is love and deep human connection. It hurts so much and is simultaneously so beautiful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear of Anne's passing. I think what you wrote about being motherless is so beautiful. I have two other friends besides you who have lost their mothers and I find myself wanting to send this to them. It's one of those unspoken things - and I think that what you wrote just lays it out there and there is comfort in that. xo

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