I stepped outdoors. In the aftermath of rain, the air had turned fresh and cool. The grass looked greener; the skies had turned an azure blue. Birds chattered excitedly. Bright pink geraniums nodded their heads in animated conversation. Trees swayed, keeping time to the music of rustling breezes. A reddish glow illuminated the world. I lingered outdoors revelling in its enchantment. My heart was filled.
We had hoped we’d celebrate my amazing beloved beautiful Mum’s 90th birthday on the 3rd of April this year. She’s instead enjoying her 3-months-in-Eternity-birthday with all the host of heaven. We can’t beat that can we? And so, amidst our tears, we gladly rejoice with her. Because of course she’s having the grandest time with my Dad. Who wouldn’t – in our Father God’s Eternal Immortal Glorious Presence?
In the journal Mama left for me, I found a special poem sent her by my sister Ranmali.
AFTERGLOW I’d like the memory of me, to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an Afterglow, when the day is done.
I’d like to leave an echo…whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times, and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of you who grieve, to dry before the sun,
Of happy memories that I leave behind, before the day is done.
I remember my beloved unique special Mama today and I miss her so. But I AM basking in the afterglow of her amazing life. I’m basking too in her rich legacy. I’m revelling in a multitude of beautiful memories – like pulling out an endless supply of colourful streamers from a bottomless golden box. Memories of my childhood crowd my mind like bright coloured crayons in a box, jostling one another, wanting to be picked.
I see myself…. in the front seat of our car next to Mum when little - a happy place to be; beside her at church with my head on her side, her arm about me, having a nap during the sermon. I remember all the delicious omelettes she made for me when I returned from school, simply because she knew I liked them. I remember… Mum getting up at 5 a.m. to make me a cup of Horlicks every day, when I began my first job. The many egg flips she made each time I had exams. Driving me and my 6 siblings around without complaint.
Numerous refreshing family holidays that were oases of contentment, family badminton and table tennis tournaments, yummy desserts made by her, happy family picnics, the magic of Christmas at no 10, the fabulous concerts she organised for my Dad’s birthday party each December. And then into my adulthood there are umpteen golden memories which I shall share another day. There’s too much to say in a short blog.
Hundreds of tributes have come pouring in since Mum died. Here are a handful:
“There are many people around the world thanking God for the life of your amazing mother as she touched so many in different ways.”
“A huge light has gone out in our land and we are so much poorer for it.”
“She was always wise, calm, thoughtful, clever but underlying it all, a very compassionate and genuine person such as we do not often come across in our lives”
“A great courageous kind God fearing lady”
“She was a genuinely caring person whose kind spirit made an indelible impression on me, in my youth.”
“What a special lady. She will never be forgotten and will always be an inspiration.”
“She touched the lives of individuals, even generations after her.”
“A wonderful lady who enriched many lives and contributed much to society and family.”
“Your Mum has blessed my life and I am one of the countless people who thank God for her.”
“She did much for me and I will never forget her.”
“What a lovely life and a huge loss and what wonderful memories.”
“An amazing dear lady who had an active mind right to the end and left a legacy that is hard to match.”
“An inspiration to all of us.”
“The most extra-ordinary woman I have ever met.”
The truth is that Mama, though always grateful to the lovely things said about her never took it on board. She would be the first to declare that she was far from perfect. That she like the rest of us had her own faults and foibles. Then what it is about her that touched so many? What is it that left such a beautiful afterglow of her life for us to enjoy?
My beautiful Mama loved life. She was deeply interested in people. She genuinely cared. She had eyes and ears for open anything and everything. She never said ‘never’. She was a woman of courage; fearless in her writing and an advocate for the oppressed. She loved God. She stood up against injustice. She had a phenomenal memory. She didn’t allow physical difficulties to stop her. She reached out to others. She blessed freely. She was deeply generous. Mum was appreciative every little thing others did for her. She was gracious and loving. She and my Dad built a wonderful partnership that blessed our world and enriched the lives of their children, grand children and great grandchildren. She was there for all 33 members of her clan right to the end. And for a host of others too…….
My friend Varuni – who with her extended family has been close to both my parents over many decades shared this on Mum’s passing.
“The world seems a little bit darker now that both she and Uncle Earle are no more. Both of them (and it’s hard to speak of one and not mention the other) were as Jesus commanded ‘a light to the world’ and everything they did ‘glorified God’. I remember at a study session once, where the question ‘have you ever seen Jesus in anybody?’ or something similar to that came up. I immediately thought of Uncle Earle and Aunty Anne.”
When my precious Mama died suddenly on the 4th of Jan 2015 I honoured her by writing the shortest blog just for her because she liked them shorter. But today I honour her by writing the longest blog I’ve written. After all, how can a few words sum up all that there is to share of her today?
Today darling Mumsey – I want to assure you that the beautiful afterglow you’ve left behind thrills my heart. Friends assure me that part of you still lives within me, and I am moved to tears but my heart beats with joy. I reflect on your life and I’m inspired every day to live better. Your afterglow burns bright. I smile. And I celebrate your life with deep thanksgiving to God for loaning you to the world for almost 90 years.
Thank you my bestest Mama-girl for your love and life and the unique ways you continue to bless me from beyond the grave. Thank you for our special Mum daughter friendship which is of the eternal kind. Enjoy the party in heaven for your almost 90th that turned into an endless praise party for our matchless Saviour Jesus.
And may God’s glorious Presence be your light and forever-glow today and always.