The sun was shining, it was almost noon and a crowd was gathering at the chapel to say goodbye to mum. I was nervous, it surprised me that I was feeling this way. I know about death and I I never react this way.
My legs were shaking, I could hardly breathe at times. As people came up to me to give their condolences all I could think of was what would I say about my mum that would tell them all how sweet she was.
My heart was racing as the celebrant walked towards me, I knew he was going to say we are ready to move into the chapel for the service. I thought to myself, he might be ready but I wasn’t. The crowd started to move inside, I followed and as I turned into the room I saw the coffin. It was beautiful, it shimmered in the sun that was streaming down from the skylight in the high vaulted ceiling. It was almost as if heaven was calling for her to rise up into the clouds. I was drawn to my mum at that moment, I had already decided that I did not want to participate in the viewing but I couldn’t help it, the image was pulling me forward.
I took one last look at her and thought to myself it did and it didn’t look like her. She was beautiful, dressed in her favourite outfit, wearing her “bling” with her hair perfectly curled around her face just the way she liked it. They did a good job, she looked nice but something wasn't right either.
As I went to the lecturn to say a few words to send my mum off I was remarkably calm, I had stopped shaking and I read my eulogy with ease and compassion. I returned to my seat to let others say their goodbye’s, I could hear them in the background but I was deep in my own thoughts as I looked at the coffin shining in the sun. At that moment I understood that while mum’s body was in there it was vacant. She had already gone to wherever it is that we all go when one dies.
This ceremony was not to lay her to rest she was already where she was supposed to be, instead the ceremony was for us, it was our closure.
Nothing more nothing less.
As I turned to leave the chapel I saw the staff from the nursing home where mum had lived for the past five years. They were so sweet to come I thought to myself but what resonated with me even more was that they were grieving as much as we were. They were wonderful and I will miss them.
By Gail Worthington on behalf of a family