My Mother's Life in Boxes: Our Fleeting Existence In This Ephemeral World

I just came back from Winnipeg, where I was helping my brother pack up our mother’s household belongings. As I looked around at the work we had done, this phrase occurred to me: “my mother’s life in boxes”. It wasn’t meant to be morose, or even macabre or depressing. It seemed to me to just be. To me, it signalled the end of an era, and reminded me of the transient nature of life. I was reminded too, that the things we hold dear are just markers in the end. They mark our time in this realm. But really, they are just things that hold a few memories that will fade as the generations pass, and they will hold less and less significance. 

Today happens to be the one year anniversary of my mom’s death. Like all such anniversaries, I notice my mood fluctuations. I was lucky enough to have my twin four year old granddaughters here this morning, doing what we do; we painted the ‘humans’ we had made a couple of weeks ago (as they call them; I’m pretty sure they’re all ballerinas).

Then with the paint still out, we made birthday cards for their older sister, read books, ate lunch together… All this ‘normal’ activity made the morning pass with ease and laughter. Again, that reminder that life goes on and reflection on who has come before makes those ordinary moments richer. 

Having travelled and filled the past week with hard work and emotional toil, I toyed with the idea of going for a swim at the sports centre that I normally go to. At first it felt like a ‘have to’, an old habit of driving myself to work out, even when it isn’t really in service to myself. Then I decided that it would be a nice way to ‘reset’ after the week away. My son-in-law dropped me off, one of my sons picked me up, and really all I had to do, was ‘the thing’. 

Love of being in the water was something I shared with my mom. She taught me to swim at Winnipeg Beach when I was small. I have spent the many years since then using that skill as a way to exercise, calm my mind/ body, stretch my being. Today, it was a way for me to connect with my mom and crystallize these thoughts. 

As we make our way through the boxes of my mom’s life, I will continue to reminisce and reflect on what she brought in her fleeting time in this world. 

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