My mother had just passed away unexpectedly and I was travelling home on my own.
I was gutted to have been too late to see her for a last time. Just less than 24 hours too late. There were many thoughts of “If only ….” I wished for time to go back so I could do things differently. Taken action earlier. All the regrets weighed on me.
I flew from London to Bangkok and was waiting for a connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur. And my older son contacted me.
I did not often talk about my faith with my 14 year old son, John. We would talk about school, exams, activities. We argued over the state of his room and chores. And here he was comforting me with the most profound words, reassuring me that Mum is heaven with the Lord and we would meet again soon (‘soon’ in eternity terms).
All communicated via text messages, of course, being today’s connected child.
Putting aside my regrets, I was grateful and thankful for many other things over the next few days. The greatest of all was the chance to touch my mother one final time to say goodbye and to get her ready for her casket. Getting my mother dressed in her favourite clothes was a task my sister, my cousin and I felt was the right thing to do. It gave my mother her dignity and it gave me the final chance to shower her with my love in my every touch. It gave me the gift of closure. In time, I was able to reconcile myself with my regrets and I forgave myself for the things I imagined I should have done.
Like my father, my mother’s wish was for her ashes to be scattered at sea. This was our final farewell.