Will the circle be unbroken.. by and by Lord by and by.. There’s a better home awaiting in the sky Lord.. in the sky..
I should be over the moon right now. Ready to embark on the trip I’ve been wanting to take since I could talk. Ready to finally set foot on the Emerald Isle and walk the land my beloved Gargie walked before me. And I am ecstatic.. so much so that the excitement is completely overwhelming me. So I set to finding some Irish music to play while I cleaned and packed to soothe my nerves.
In amongst all the Irish songs on Youtube was the old gospel song, Will the circle be unbroken. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to the words before. I’ve heard them.. but I’ve never listened to them. By the end of the first verse, I was sobbing. I miss my mum. Yes, it’s 16 years since she passed away but I miss her deeply still. The words are obviously about the death of someone’s much loved mum and I’m sure were written to invoke strong emotions, but I think what has left me in a flood of tears is the memory it brought up. A memory I had tried to push to the back recesses of my brain as it hurts to remember it.
It was not long after Aimee had been killed, that I went around to my friends’ house. Their son and Aimee had been best friends since they were babies and in amongst their own sorrow, they supported me in mine. Out of the blue, my ex husband turned up. I hadn’t seen him since the funeral and the shock of coming face to face with the man who was responsible for my daughter’s death was just too hard to bear. I wanted to vomit. I was a complete mess. My poor friends got rid of him and did their best to calm me down.
I had a drink and then another and then another. Eventually I came out of the awful state I was in and was able to function a bit better, albeit it through the painkilling effects of the alcohol. They drove me home and I went to bed.
Mum came in to tuck me in and see if I needed anything. I was back to being the little girl again, not a woman in her 30’s. I said to her, “Mum.. it’s not fair.. Garge lived with you… You live with me.. Who am I going to live with. Who’s going to look after me.. The circles been broken.” I will never, until the day I die, forget the look of pain on her face. If I had been sober, I would never have uttered the words to her because I knew the pain she was going through.
But I wasn’t sober and I was in such pain, I couldn’t see anything else until I looked at her face. I can still feel the softness of her hand cupping my face and telling me it would all be alright. She turned my light off and sat with me for a bit longer.. and I know the light was turned off so I couldn’t see her crying too. We were both without our girl and we didn’t know how to cope.
She was broken inside, grieving for the cheeky granddaughter who greeted her every morning.. and ran into her arms every night after school. The smart alec kid who teased her but would have walked over hot coals for her. The little girl who she had seen almost every day of her life. The baby she had held who had grown into the young girl who would sneak into her Grandma’s bed for a cuddle nearly every night.
While she was grieving for her, she was grieving for me too. She was trying to be the support I needed. She was watching a broken shell that was once her baby daughter and she couldn’t make it right. As a parent, that would have to be the worst thing in the world. She didn’t know how to fix it. She didn’t know what to say or do to help. She felt helpless.
I wish I’d never said those words to her and had to witness that pain. She didn’t realise just how much she helped. Without her, i don’t know what I would have done. I don’t know what my boys would have done. She was our rock. She was bleeding inside but she was that one solid thing in our lives that we could depend on. While our whole world was falling down around us, she was the same constant she had always been. Just with a broken heart that never healed.
When she got cancer 3 years after Aimee died, I knew without a doubt that the cancer was a by-product of the grief she had kept bottled up while she was supporting us. I hate that I wasn’t strong enough to protect her at that time but I just wasn’t. To put my parent hat on, I know I would have done exactly what she did, regardless of the cost to myself, for my children. I know she did what she did completely selflessy because she needed to protect me.. but I wish I could have protected her.
I also knew she wouldn’t live through it. She put up a good pretence of trying to fight it, but she was life tired. She was ready to go to get another huge hug from Aimee. She was ready to sit amongst the angels where she deserved to be, as she was an angel here on earth. I knew I had to let her go… but I was now without my three favorite girls. Gargie, Mum & Aimee are all buried in the Drysdale cemetery in Victoria. They are together and I’m left here.
I know she’s going to be thrilled that not only am I going to Ireland, but I’m going with Wendy, my cousin. We spent so much time together as kids, that mum always joked that Wendy was my twin. So I know she’ll be the silent passenger in the car with us, listening in on our conversations like she always did, no matter how much we whispered lol. I know my three favorite girls are helping to orchestrate this trip from above as too much has fallen so easily into place for it to be a coincidence. Another of my cousins, Deb, is joining us for the last few days in Dublin and I can just imagine Mum rolling her eyes at us, commenting on what mischief we’ll get up to as she always did whenever we got together.
When I heard that song tonight, I was reminded of the pain on her face that night. I was reminded of the soft skin of her hands touching my face. I was reminded of her gentle soul, always ready with a cup of tea to cure the ills of the world. I was reminded of the wet handmarks that were always in the same place on her apron from wiping them after doing the dishes. Most of all, I was reminded of how much I miss that woman. I miss coming home to a cup of tea and the folding done, no matter how many times I told her she didn’t have to do it. I miss watching old movies with her. I miss her stories that she would repeat over and over again as if she’d never told me them before.. I miss her touch.. her smell, her laugh, her very essence.
I know that the fact that I’m finally going home to Garge’s land is stirring up all these emotions. It’s more than just a trip, it’s a pilgrimage.. a chance to find myself finally. and I know there are three angels cheering me on from up above, thrilled that I’m finally doing it. And I will give you bets that one of them has just popped the kettle on and is making a cup of tea. That one will be my Mum.. I know the circle will never be broken… It was a circle of arms around necks, hugging tight.. It was made out of love and that’s the strongest thing on earth… and in heaven… Miss you Ma xxxxx
Happy days ahead… Livvy