Today is not a day for gratitude.
But if there’s anything to be grateful for, it’s that Helen loved out loud. When she loved you, you knew it.
The day she was diagnosed with cancer, I called her and the first thing she said was: “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for you and the boys and your dad. It’s going to be so hard. And I’m going to miss you all so much.”
My brothers and I have had a decades-long debate about which of us is my mom’s favourite – who’s the favo.
While she was in hospital, my mom gave us the answer: none of us. Turns out it was Raymo. It was always Raymo.
The love that shone out of her face every time she saw him or heard his voice is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
Words have been quite meaningless the last few weeks, which is hard for me, because words are my thing. But the day before words left my mom, she said to me: “I’m at peace. I’ve lived a lovely life.”
What a gift for her to tell us that.
What a gift that she’s told us all – over and over again, for years – how much she loves us.
We didn’t have to deal with regrets, or unfinished business, or hard conversations. It was all love.
The only words I’ve found reassuring since my mom died are these:
“Life is eternal and love is immortal,
Death is only a horizon,
And a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.”
My mom has been talking about ‘slices of joy’ a lot in the last few months. The idea is that instead of saving up your happiness for a big goal or a holiday, you look for little slices of joy in each day.
That first sip of water when you’re thirsty, a hug from someone you love, a pair of butterflies in the garden, diving into a swimming pool, a cold beer on a warm day.
Now is not the time for gratitude, or joy.
But one day, we will feel joy again. And I think we’ll feel Helen’s presence in those slices of joy.
Because she’s not gone. She’s just beyond the limit of our sight.