Sunday 28 December 2014

Lilies at Christmas

Lilies at Christmas

In wood fire heat, in closed-door warmth, the perfume rises.

White petals, pearl-glazed by glints of winter sun, release their incense. Sweet breaths of history blend with spiced fragments of the festival: old-English puddings, dried plums and orange (ashes on the tongue this year).

The lilies bloom: Heaven-scent, the Holy Mother’s divinity; the green leaves are her modesty, the stem her piety; dew-on-snow succulence, symbol of purity and birth. The trumpets blow and saffron-furred stamens tremble as we dare to sing with cracking voices and cheeks stretched tight.

Cut from the tightly-furled bulb, remembrance, these lilies are for my mother.  

November bouquets (sent in hope) wilted to sad outlines in a lamp-lit upstairs window as her faith in the coming adventure grew stronger, the finest of her many journeys. She is over the border now, gone to her mountain paths and woodland gardens, dancing under pines and holm oaks.

The funeral flowers remain.

My beloved mother Joy died twelve days ago, and the funeral was on Christmas Eve. She was brave and dignified to the end, having decided against surgical intervention for the cancer that was discovered at the end of September. For the last six weeks of her life, we cared for her at her home in South London with the help of hospice and district nurses. She will be missed beyond words.

I wrote about her here, last year: Joy and my writing.


Gill Edwards said...

Oh Deborah, I am so sorry for your loss. Its never easy to lose a parent. There are no adequate words so i'll just say I am thinking of you and sending you hugs.
Gill x

Evelyn said...

Holding good thoughts for you in this hard time. Your beautiful words about the lilies are a lovely tribute to your mother.

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

My deepest sympathies to you and your family, Deborah. I'm so sorry to hear you lost your first reader and wonderful mother. Losing a parent leaves a hole in your heart that will never be filled, but hopefully your memories will again bring a smile to your face.

Marcheline said...

What a beautiful tribute. Thinking of you and your family, and sending thoughts of peace, love, and support your way.

Robbyn Coulon said...

Dear Deborah, I'm so sorry to hear of your mother's passing. My father died in September, I know what an unreal, sad time this has to be for you. It does get better, the days continue and you will smile again, thinking of the happy times you had with your mom. Sending hugs, a tear and a smile.

Patricia said...

I'm so sorry for this immense loss for you and your family, Deborah. You have written so lovingly about your mother, we can appreciate the strong legacy that will live on. My deepest sympathy.

Bunched Undies said...

My sincere condolences Deborah. Wishing you strength and peace in the days ahead.

litlove said...

Deborah I am so, so sorry. You have written a beautiful post as a tribute to her and here, as well as in so many other places in your life, she will live on. Sending all love.

Libby said...

Deborah, what a very lovely tribute to your Mother. Mine died two years ago and, really, not a day passes that I don't think of her or recall some conversation. It does get better with time....

Yvonne Osborne said...

Beautiful woman. How we miss our mothers....

Caroline @shuttersandsunflowers said...

I am so very sorry to hear of your sad loss. I just read what you wrote about your mother last year, it was so beautiful. Your mother will live on in your heart and your writing for always.
My husband gave me this when I lost my darling Daddy xx


And if I go
while you’re still here….
Know that I live on,
vibrating to a different measure
-behind a thin veil you cannot see through.
You will not see me,
so you must have faith.
I wait for the time when we can soar together again,
-both aware of each other.
Until then, live your life to its fullest.
And when you need me,
Just whisper my name in your heart,
……I will be there

Colleen Hitchcock

Cornflower said...

Oh, Deborah!
Sending you love and much sympathy.

renilde said...

dear Deborah, your beloved mother will always be with you, very close, in your heart forever, love to you and your family.

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