When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. – Matthew 2:10
Tonight, I am home in the quiet, Mom.
This house is old-fashioned, with the kitchen at its heart, like a farm house. My living room walls are gold, like yours were. I keep a garden, Mom, and I bake bread.
I know what it is to walk under stars, both the soft stars of summer and the cold winter stars. I’ve known hard times and good times, and in these middle years can see that I am blessed.
The dogs are softly grumbling as I write this, Mom, they wish to go outside. I pause, I rise, I walk them out, into the blue dark of Christmas Eve, and they step out to guard the fence line. It’s only over there, this fence now. But in the light of this glimmering hour, Mom, I see long views unfold.
The fields you found for us, to be our homestead hearth. Those back country roads you loved, winding on into adventures in the spruce clad hills.
The mushroom patches and the berry grounds, the places where the salve trees grow. The bears who picked berries where you did, too, acknowledging your right to a share.
The cows who held you as the centre of their social order, the voice they all knew. The deer who would come to the top of the garden, where we buried your collie dog when her time came.
The northern lights who’d open their wings above your home, among whom your husband danced away so soon, so soon. Then, the visions only you knew, of what you’d have to do now, to keep a home for your children, now, and walk on with pride as always.
The horizons of work, Mom, you crossed again and again. And oh, the sorrowful mysteries, those ones that burden the heart, for which you must pray to the Heavenly Father, the Heavenly Mother, for solace and strength to go on.
And the blessed moments of peace, of laughter, of pure wonder; here, a batch of chicks discovered, peeping from under their mother’s skirts; there, a piglet warmed back to life in the woodstove oven; a bullcalf, born big and needing a pull, rough-dried and pushed round to his mother, where her exhausted head could reach him, where his presence would raise the miracle spark in her own eyes, as she reached out to nuzzle her baby; the foster kids, and your joy when they’d do more than they thought they could, your delight in their tentative laughter.
The roses, little wild roses, and your saint, Therese the Little Flower; the first shoots, out of cold dank spring; the moments you let yourself open to joy.
All those tiny lanterns shining, all along your path.
Look around now, Mama. I hope where your spirit abides, you walk in the light
or better yet, may you be dancing.
Thank you for the light you shared.
*This year, I am honouring my mom’s passing by writing throughout the Advent season, following as prompts the daily quotations cited in the free online calendar put out by the Catholic Medical Mission Board Mom was a lifelong Roman Catholic, and I was raised with the Church as a contentious part of our family life, given that my Ojibwe dad’s family was so affected by the church. Nonetheless, her faith was important to Mom, so this is a tribute to her. It’s also a reflection on how religions influence in many ways.
If you like these posts, please also consider donating, in the memory of Albina Sewell, to Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton; her chosen charity for memorials is not religiously affiliated, but serves all children.
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