this is an image of my grandmothers hand with mine. it was taken a few months before she passed away. I loved her hands. as a child I remember curiously playing with the veins that sat on top but just under her skin, mine don’t do that Grandma? They were always busy hands, always gardening or cooking or creating. always love. there would often be small particles of dirt that had settled in the creases of her hand, clean dirt from planting a new rose. her hands felt like home. they felt safe. that sounds so silly saying it out loud. but they made me feel safe.
i took this image just after she told me she couldn’t fight anymore. I sat at her feet, put my head in her lap and just cried. she stroked my hair. I took this picture, I took pictures of everything. the words below came from this moment. when I read them to her she said they were beautiful with tears in her eyes and asked if I could read them at her funeral. I did. she was not perfect. but i miss her so much my heart aches. when things are bad I cry and cry and wish she was still here. it’s been two and a bit years since she passed away. i miss her.so much. I miss just knowing she is there, like roots grounding me to life, a heritage that meant I was connected to more than just this moment of my life
Laying under the stars…
Such peaceful beauty encases me.
Dissolving all my troubles.
None of it is of any consequence.
The tedious dramas, this painful ride.
When our ticking hand,
Ticks it’s last tock,
We will know that none of it mattered.
When our reflection shows us the end,
We will know all our troubles were just pretend.
Age around her eyes and history on her lips,
Warmth in her hand, her heart and life to no plan.
Her time to go, like the spring brings the melting snow.
A life lived, inhale, a final breath to pass her lips, exhale.
Time running out, time slipping through her bones.
Peaceful, tired and weary, like a flying dove, ready to go.
Like the stars in the sky, the sparkle one day inevitable to die.
We hope for her peacefully dissolving, her suffering resolving.
Dearest dove, I need you to know I don’t want you to go. I can’t draw a breath, prickly tears take my eyes. You’ve held my hand through all my nonsense, through my life a strong constant. Dearest dove of peaceful white, I think perhaps you’ve had enough of the fight. We don’t want you to go, but you need to know, we will be ok. In the future, in the past and today. Because of all that you are and all that you gave, our hands will keep ticking.
Peace awash. Lost in her watery blue eyes. Eyes held in her age and her story. Eyes full of her determined strength. Her sky blue eyes reflect the depth of my ocean. We will be ok. There is still plenty of fight in me yet, she ever so firmly states, a flicker of cheek across her face. I’m not going anywhere just now.
We are all exactly where we are supposed to be. Peace in knowing and resting in that is the key. Either way she flys, in time she will be taken by the sky’s. Peace settles on my being, her wing in my hand. Stars sparkle, banal troubles insignificant.
In this moment, just you and I, none of it matters.
These are two of my most favourite images of her, one from near the beginning of her story and one from near the end.
Her Last Breath
Ebb and flow,
Hold my hand,
Don’t let me go,
But be still with me,
My being now free.
Your good byes to say,
My last breath escaped today.
Roses beautiful & bloom,
At the end of their season.
Their beautiful life and petals,
Return from whence they came.
My life etched on my face,
Now forever suspended in this time and this place.
All that you are and all that I am,
Forever held here in our hand.
Heather Christina Wilson
30/11/1934 – 05/05/2014
my mother, my two sisters and myself were by her side when she passed away. this is an image of that moment. one I will never forget. this moment changed the trajectory of my path forever.
Everything in life seemed to fall apart when she died. It all completely deconstructed. I have no idea why. It just did.
She was not perfect. Not a saint in the family. She just was. She was just always there. She took care of me, after my divorce I would just drive to her house, not say a thing and just cry and cry, she would make me tea and give me biscuits. When money was tight while on my own she would have a bag of shopping waiting for me to take home. She always included dish cloths and detergent and often Avon hand creams, random little acts of care and love. She was a part of my bones, I always knew she was there. She made me feel safe and grounded.
She was challenging and rebellious and strong willed, she was fiercely independent and cheeky and spontaneous- these were the things I adored about her. But, she was also conservatively minded and very judgmental, seeing the world through her 1950s country Christian upbringing. She could be very manipulative and divisive. I’m not sure why. Truthfully I only know parts of the story, and those parts only through her own words.
As teenagers my sister and I lived with her. I’m sure that can’t have been easy and I don’t think it was something she necessarily wanted, but perhaps something she felt she had to do. I’m not sure. I often remember sitting in the hallway listening to her on the phone to some extended family member going on about what horrid, hard to handle teenagers we were, completely warping the story or over exaggerating a incident. Why is she saying that? That’s not how that happened. I would just cry.
I never understood why. Am I like her? I’m not sure really. I know she would be disappointing in my current life choices. Not walking the good Christian path I had tried to walk in the past. Living in sin with a man. I’m quite sure she would not approve of B. Quite sure! My step father often told me off saying you are so much like your grandmother. It was never a good thing.
Her skin. I miss her skin. The veiny skin on the back of her hands, the tendons in her slightly pulled in Viking pinky. Her thin lips and the crinkles around her eyes. I miss her skin. I miss being in her home and the warmth and safety I always felt there. I miss talking to her, mostly we could talk about things and I just always felt better after. Except sex, and my tattoos, I hid my first few from her. oh the pursed lips when she saw them the first few times.
Everything changed for me when she died. I’m still trying to figure out why.
I didn’t want to disappoint her. When my husband cheated on me I was mostly terrified of her knowing and what she would think. I felt shame. I kept it from her, from most people for a long time.