in the wake of loss 

After my mother’s wake and a week after my mother’s death it fell to me to prepare dinner. My brothers, relatives and neighbours had tended to the job throughout the previous week but on this Wednesday it felt natural that I would make it. 

Like our other family dinners it would be plain and wholesome and everyone would have more than enough. That is, they would have enough if I could get it off the ground. A number of full but topless saucepans were barking from the stove. Roosters were bubbling while orange garden carrots boiling away gently began to soak up a little too much salt. This certainly wasn’t how Mam did it. 

 For the life of me I could not find the right tops amongst the confusion of lids, pots and casserole dishes that remained in our family home after the wake. There is a strange comfort in all of these ill fitting lids. Too large, too small, nearly right but leaving a gap through which steam can escape. Golidlocks, her bears and the warm cuddles delivered to us as children at story time came back to me. 

The confusion of lids is testament to the warmth and care of our friends, family and neighbours who banded together showering us and our wake visitors with beautiful food and treats. A chaotic meitheal of love and giving leaves houses like this one upturned just as our hearts have been upscuttled and undone in the wake of our loss. 

But we know that as lids are slowly returned to their rightful owners, hopefully with the right saucepan, our mother will pass her calm across us, tugging us gently through  the confusion, through the gauze of light that waits for us until we can take clear blue skies again. Thanks to all who helped us with such spirit and generosity. Xx


One thought on “in the wake of loss 

  1. There is a lot of good feeling packed into every word of that short piece. And the physical results of what ends up on the table don’t matter nearly as much as the good intentions, memories and effort that went into the process. Perhaps, over time, the right lids will come to your hands seemingly of their own accord as you acclimatize to your new normal and/or as you tune in to the frequency on which Patsy is sending you her instructions. What a great picture .


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