This week our dear mother and grandmother, Joy, passed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning with her lifelong partner and dearly loved husband, Hedley, by her side. It was only just Mothers’ Day last year that I wrote about her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. It seems sadly bittersweet then, that this Mothers’ Day we are mourning her loss.
We knew her time with us would be limited. We knew there would be no cure. But we did hope. We hoped the chemo might work. And it did. For a while. Then we received the bad news that there was no more they could do. It was just a matter of time.
Knowing that Joy was on borrowed time, the whole family gathered for Christmas. I am so glad we did. It was a joyous time hosted at our place. Bec and I spent ages planning the menu and the decorations, determined to make it a Christmas to remember. Family photos were taken on our front verandah – even Santa made an appearance – these will all now be extra special memories.
The doctors couldn’t really give a time frame. Easter came and went and still Joy remained in remarkably good health, all things considered. Until last weekend. The end did come quickly and for that we are truly grateful. After saying her final farewells, in person and over the phone, Joy let go and quietly slipped away.
I say that we are grateful, but our hearts are still heavy. Joy of name and joy of nature, she was the centre of the family, the glue that held all things and all people together. She was kind, funny, generous and loving. She was also brave and faced her coming death with acceptance and serenity. Her number one concern was for the partner she would leave behind, Hedley.
This week will be hard. I know. I have walked this path before. Family and friends from interstate are gathering to farewell Joy, and I know how hard the funeral day will be, especially for Hedley. We will mourn and shed tears and say farewell to the wife, mother, grandmother and friend, who we all loved so much.
Joy knows we will be sad but she would not wish us to mourn forever. She would want us to remember the happy times. She would want us to smile and laugh as we reminisce over the funny stories and the memories that are etched into our hearts and minds. As we move forward in life, Joy will never be forgotten. She will live forever in our hearts.
I expect that Mothers’ Day will always be a mixed blessing for us in the future, but it is still a time for gratitude and love, for cherishing the mothers still with us, and remembering the mothers who have passed on. Every day is a gift. Cherish your mum, wherever she may be.