The house is full of flowers

The house is full of flowers because Mum is gone.

She wore the new shirt I gave her for Christmas but she never got to see how pretty she looked in it.

Red roses and rosaries; a white-haired priest with an Irish accent.

A man in a frock coat walked down the road in front of the hearse while the summer sun beat down.

Black dresses and sunburn. Hot little boys with sweaty heads.

Her children following the hearse, just the four of us alone together. My brother drove and swore; my sister couldn’t remember what day it was. We laughed and cried in that contrary way people do, battered by grief.

Contrary like her. Artist and mother; creator of books and babies, the heart of our family. Both stubborn and passionate; unsentimental and loving. Champion worrier to the end.

On Monday night my sister told her everything was in order and she could stop worrying. Tuesday morning she was gone.

Even 87 years was not enough.

The house is full of flowers and I will miss her all the rest of my life.

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