It was over.
I would never again experience her mischievous sidelong glance; her resolute will; her unmitigated joy when I walked into the room.
A few days after her death, I came across these words by the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer; his perspective sustains me as I think again and again about the loss of her:
The more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. We bear what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within; a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.
I realized that, except when dementia clouded her recognition, my Mother had always expressed abounding joy each and every time we were reunited.
With a huge smile and beaming eyes, she would throw her arms up in the air for a hug.
And while we often would engage in a mother/daughter dance of wills, our greetings and partings were always imbued with a deep, poignant stirring.
When I left her side for the last time, I told her I would be back soon.
What if I die before you get here?
Her eyes were focused on me. She was not clouded by confusion. She meant every word.
I don’t think that will happen.
Oh…why won’t it happen?
Because it hasn’t happened before, so it probably won’t happen now.
Well, OK; if you say so.
I never saw her again.
It was over.
But it will never be over.
I have hidden treasures; about that, I can always be certain.