In search of my mother's garden, I found my own. Alice Walker
The actor Sean Connery received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 for his contributions to film. He was almost
80 years-old at the time. Connery accepted the award with his usual humor and dignity, but I will never forget what he said
at the end. To paraphrase, he thanked his deceased parents and wished that they could be present for his award ceremony. He
said that his parents’ memory continued to enrich his life and that he thought about them every day. He finished by
telling the audience that he loved his parents, missed them and looked forward to seeing them again.
to his acceptance speech and I thought if Agent 007 could publicly proclaim his continuing love for his parents then I could,
too. He gave me permission (although I know now I don’t need permission) to say I love you, Mom and Dad. I miss you
both and I always will. Perhaps then the greatest gift of grief is carrying my parents in
my heart—not as two people fixed in time or memory, but as individuals who continue to inform me and enrich my life
in ways I cannot yet imagine.
As I have written in other places on this web site, I have a love-hate relationship
with saccharine poetry and prose. The works of Helen Steiner Rice get on my nerves. When it comes to grief, I’m just
not that evolved. Over time, and to my surprise, cards, prose and poems that used to rankle me now offer comfort. There is
an odd sort of consolation (and hope) thinking about my parents waiting for me to come Home. Here is
one such excerpt from a May 1910 sermon given at Saint Paul's Cathedral,
London, by Canon Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918):
"...I have only slipped away into the next room...Whatever we were to each
other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name...Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but
waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well..."
I’ll end this section with a verse from one of the sympathy
cards that didn’t console me much when Mom died, but holds a world of hope and promise for me now:
Although you will miss her
And mourn that she’s gone,
May this thought bring you peace—
That in you she lives on.
Go to next page: Preparing to Live: A Meditation on Death