Remember to care for the carers.
Easter without her.
That day I learnt that Mum knew the words to 'Here I am Lord' by heart in English as well as Italian. Her soft soprano voice touched a chord.
I didn't want either of my parents to see my tears so I turned my head towards the woman beside me as I fumbled through Mum's purse for a tissue. She starting chatting to me about the windy weather. Through silent tears I thanked her and reminded myself to carry a hanky from now on.
The church where we held Mum's funeral was the same church she was married in over 51 years ago. The organist knew Mum well and volunteered to play at her funeral. I left the song choices up to her and she also offered to arrange two or three of the choir members to sing along with her.
More than a dozen choir members showed up. At least twice as many than are normally present for a regular Sunday mass. The priest commented during the mass that he's never seen or heard anything like it at a funeral before.
On our first Easter Sunday without Mum, the church was packed to the rafters... even the mezzanine was full (cliches are allowed when they're true - right? :)
The choir was larger than normal and during the communion they sang 'mum's song' in Italian, 'Sono qui signore,' just like they did for her funeral.
As soon as the organist played the first note I realised I forgot to pack one of Mum's hankies. I was wearing one of her scarves, so I used that instead. She never did manage to mould me into a 'proper' lady.
After the mass, Dad and I visited the cemetery and then spent the rest of the day celebrating Easter with two of Mum's God Daughters and their extended families.
The two separate families don't know each other, but each have huge holiday houses in the same seaside town. Lunch at the sister of one God Daughter, dinner with a sister of the other.
Our families united across generations because of the love shared between our Mothers from friendships forged and cemented over 50 years ago.
On the long drive home Dad and I agreed our first Easter without her was a good one. For me, it was almost perfect. I know Mum would be glad she didn't have to climb all the stairs we encountered.
I wonder if Dad, whose 80 this year, will even remember it tomorrow. I'm happy to keep reminding him for a long time.
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