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Never Mind

Driving past little Pine Lake in Hudson the other day, I was listening to the oboe’s baleful lament in Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, and recalling my mother. Just a few years ago she’d stood on this shore staring at the red-tinged foliage and a nearby heron, still as a statue — both Mum and the bird, that is.

She was rapt, taking in the view for the last time — taking in viewing for the last time. We knew there wouldn’t be much more. Alzheimer’s had her brain, though not entirely; she knew what was coming.

In the space of twenty yards I was intersected by the music, the memory and the scene. My eyes welled up. Mum’s at rest now, but that moment is seared in my memory. It’s not just about her; in the death of our parents we see our own mortality — a mortality I flirted with too freely while she was still alive. I still feel guilty for almost inflicting my own death on her — too recklessly and too often.

It seemed to me on that day that she was trying with all her might to imbibe it all, to get enough and finally let go; but eventually, turning away with a little sigh, she smiled and said, “Oh well! Never mind.”

As I pass through the middle years and am faced ever more bluntly with my own transience, I also find more acceptance. It’s not always like this; some people grow more fearful. That’s a shame, for life is to be lived, and the less that remains, the sweeter it surely is.  I thank Mum for that grace.

If you want to pass down some useful insight to your children, live life to the full, not necessarily without fear but without flinching, with your heart wide open. No need to say a thing. They’ll get it.

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5 responses to “Never Mind”

  1. Brenda

    Reading your graceful words about life and passing on, I felt deep sorrow. My parents died many years ago, and I lost my last grandmother last year. I took it much harder than expected and fear has fully taken over my existence. I expected to find relief and peace after caregiving to grandmothers for 25 years but it hasn’t happened. Living life to the fullest is something I hope all parents can teach their children. Passing on (teaching) positive belief systems would be helpful too.

  2. Dorothy Lalonde

    Such a pure and simple message. Thank you. Happy Mother’s Day to all those nurturing women out there (with or without children of their own).

  3. Diane sprackett

    Stephen, thank you so much for this Mother’s Day message, delivered, as always, from your soul. It certainly brought forth emotion, as I reflected on my own Mother and as a Mother myself. Aging graciously in my senior years, isn’t always easy but what I strive for……some days more successfully than others!! Your thought about ” living life not necessarily without fear but without flinching” is so well expressed. When one of my sons expressed, in a birthday card recently, that he hoped he’d have the same energy and enthusiasm for life at my age as I do, I thought maybe I’m doing ok!
    Many thanks again for being who you are and your honesty and sincerity about your life pathway. Please extend Happy Mother’s Day wishes to Caroline.
    Diane

  4. MARLENE

    Losing a loved one is never easy but the memories of the happy times together will always live within us as we continue our journey of life. Even though the death of my husband and two sons was difficult, I can honestly say I have come out of the dark tunnel to a bright, new world of enlightenment. Through courses like spiritual evolution, Reiki and meditation, I have met some wonderful women who are on the same path of self discovery. I used to live my life with the glass half empty but now I see the glass half full. I have so much for which to be grateful; a roof over my head, food to eat, good health, kind, caring friends but most importantly, a 21 year old granddaughter who still likes to ‘hang out’ with Nana. After all, life is for LIVING.

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