St Clair Beach - Dunedin

Tears are the silent language of grief.


Just two months ago my Mother passed away… strange because it feels like six months change has occurred in that short time.  I’ve changed.  I’ve also learned a lot about myself.

Have you ever had to organise a funeral?  This was my first, with my brother we discovered stories and talked to people, found time to reconnect and explored the raw edge of grief.  I felt pain, relief, deep sadness, fond memories and loss.  I also crawled out of my shell, and with help organised the best send off we could muster for our Mother.  It’s incredible what you can manage in a short time.

So, I stood there at the lecturn (there must be a better word for the thing you stand at to talk at a funeral), fought for composure and place my speech on the wooden platform.  I began with a story of a journey on a linerfrom New Zealand to South America, before I was born.

About to arrive in Punta Arenas in the Magellan Straits Mum reflects on seeing Albatross gracefully flying at sea and wonders at the experience, having only otherwise seen them at the end of the Otago Peninsula. She likes the – quote – glorious view of rollers smashing against the windows.  Now the liquid levels on the tables slant a bit, and crockery slides around without the spectacle.  So disappointing.’  

Standing there in front of those people she knew my lip wobbles, I stammer out a few more lines and the tears drip on my cheeks.  I’m a grown man standing there in front of a crowd of people, crying, releasing the grief and loss.  Saying goodbye.

Through the challenges of life that she face confronting bipolar disease she managed to bring up two kind-of-balanced boys who loved her dearly.  We still do.

I learned over those days, although having been away from home so long, that I have a strong and supportive family.  And that through the fog I can manage with a clarity of purpose to make it just right.

I’m sure, as she always liked, my Mother is walking the beach, somewhere.

Bye Mum, I love you.