We have a big kettle of memories that settle inside us on simmer, quietly refusing to reach boil, reluctant to allow the whistle to blow, content to, most of the time at least, allow nothing to touch them, to disrupt the mellow sense of acceptance. Now and then though they do surface and it is only something that my son brings up at dinner that causes the simmer to turn into boil and to eventually return to simmer again.
Son tells me about a fundraising for the hospice. Ah Yes, the hospice, I say. I remember the hospice went on some kind of a strike or a dispute when my mother was dying. I remember it well because she had to be transported to Dublin for some respite from the pain she was suffering. No hospice to welcome her here. I remember it well. I know I keep saying how I remember it. But it is so vivid. I remember she did not want to go. I remember her crying at the idea. I remember her going away. I remember getting on a train to go visit her with my eldest son who was short of fifteeen at the time. I remember getting to the city on the hottest of days. I remember the cool, clinical feel of the hospital. The strange silk pajamas my mother wore. How she did not seem to cast any eye to me. How she craved my son and offered him chocolates, a gift she had stowed away just for him. I remember how my son went outside to a small putting green to shoot golf balls into a tiny hole and how I watched him from the window and took heart in the way his blond hair shone in the sunlight and his long legs tanned and covered in down promised life. I remember then, maybe I do not remember correctly but I do see how my mother turned to me and told me it was alright. Maybe I am imagining that part. I think she held my hand or I held hers. I think she saw me and how all the years of our deepest friendship floated in her eyes. I don't know. Maybe my memory is distorted but this is how I choose to remember it. I remember kissing her , for the last time and then calling my son in from the garden of the hospital and leaving the room and I remember thinking that the door to the room was heavy and final and the train journey home was like an unending siren in my ears. I remember that and seeing my other children at the train station to meet me and wishing that my mother was in the hospice and not away in a city where nothing was real. Where everything was cold and without connection and even the grass appeared artificial. Void of daisies.