By Amanda Brisbane
Sometime during my sixth year on this planet, I was waiting for my father to bring my mother home from the hospital, where she had been receiving treatment for pneumonia. Although the sequence of events are cloudy for me at best, he came home without her. He looked terribly sad, and would not speak. Could not speak, is more accurate. I asked him 'Where is Mummy?'
He burst into deep racking sobs, and I didn't understand his answer, as he pulled me into his arms and continued sobbing uncontrollably. I became concerned for him and was trying to pull away so as to look into his face, as into the cottage walked my mother’s best friend. She immediately took me from my father and sat me down with her. My sister was nearby and crying too, looking at dad. My mother's friend, whom we called Aunty Marion then told us that Mummy wouldn't be coming home again, because she had died.
Naturally, I was full of questions about what death was and why she couldn't come home. Everything was a blur from then on, until one day, it must have been several weeks later, I decided to write my mother a letter and to leave it on the farm fence post by the cottage, for the "angels to come and get it to take it to mummy".
This process of writing letters to her and wrapping them around my special little toys for her continued for months. The years passed and another mother came into our lives.
I do not recall much about the process of coming to terms with her death, but I recall having had many dreams, the subject of which was abandonment and orphanages and the like.
However, I feel intuitively, that the process of grieving for me was handled well by my significant adults, because it is a subject that I am very comfortable with now in my 58th year. An interesting side effect of the demise of my mother has been that I have absolutely NO MEMORY of anything that took place in my life prior to her death. The only connection I have with events is through stories and photographs that have been shared with me. However, I am congruent with this state of affairs and have no fear of death in anyway whatsoever.
In fact I consider it has been my absolute privilege to have been able to carry out palliative care work in the health sector, and to assist those who have been touched deeply by this natural process we call death.