dag mama

sometime during last year

 my mama died last Thursday

not quite unexpected, but unexpected nevertheless

I have been back home* for almost two weeks now, together with papa, my brother, sister and mama. The five of us together for the last time. Mama lay embalmed in her coffin, installed in the dining room surrounded by many flowers and countless cards, up until the day of the funeral service on Wednesday 18 November. It was nice to have her with us, in body and spirit; with her striking black glasses and lipstick on she at times almost seemed to be breathing. I have come to realise this mourning business is indeed a process during which we need to take baby-steps and grasp at straws to gradually come to terms with the inevitable truth of what has happened. 

* in parental home I mean

Lise van Dijk-Skov Knudsen 
* 15 June 1934   † 12 November 2020

my words at her funeral service

Dear mama

When papa and I were with you at the hospice last week, you lay asleep peacefully and I remember thinking: here lies my mama, the woman who gave birth to me. This was the last time I saw you alive. Strange how you cannot see the moment of death approach. It's a comfort to know you were quiet and relaxed when we left you that evening.

We have now truly come to the end of your life.

It was good to have been part of it, although it has not always been easy for me, your eldest daughter. We clashed at times. Probably because I am like you, which is a good thing for me as it means part of you will always be with me. Because if I'm honest, I am going to miss you. The app-messages, letters, postcards, phone calls which were rarely appreciated and often felt inconvenient. Phew, I'm not easy maintenance.

Through my own, often clumsy communication with my sons, I have come to understand why you continued to insist: you were trying to stay in touch. I am grateful to you for this. Even though I have not always felt your love, I now realise it has always been there.

mama, what can I say or add now, I don't know 

it's all okay



Mo Crow said…
(((Saskia & all your family))) this is a beautiful tribute to your fabulous Mama!
Marti said…
Querida Saskia,

I so strongly felt the need to say Dear Saskia in Spanish because the honest, heart- filled words you wrote about your mother connected deeply with me. Yes it is all ok, we who are the oldest daughters, locking horns with our mothers at times and coming to understand years later, that they gave us their best What a loving way to send her off, in her home, surrounded by her loving family, flowers, cards and lipstick- I smiled when I read that and then I cried a little. It is such a beautiful way to honor, respect, love, and say goodbye.

Mourning takes time and when you think you have come to an understanding, a settling, a memory pope up or you see something that reminds you of your mother or you hear yourself sounding like her and it all comes to the forefront. You are just beginning this journey, I have been mourning the loss of my mother for over 40 yrs. What I can say to you Saskia is to be good to yourself, you were there for your Mama. My arms are around all of you and I send you love and my condolences.
Nancy said…
SaX~ Oh. I'm sending big, big love to you and your family. Like Marti, I cried, perhaps because of the missing that still happens with my own mama, or the loss of so many others...but really because I've understood or sensed how hard this time has been for you. It is never easy to move through the passing of important ones. Your words, so heartfelt and honest really touched me. Be easy with yourself, take time to be. Love to you my friend.
Liz A said…
oh Saskia ... she was so beautiful ... as are you

"losing a mother is the hardest thing" ... words written to me 12 years ago and still they ring true

as time goes by you may very well find signs in your world that keep your mother in your life (for me, ladybugs and having a clear on-ramp to the interstate ... after which I always say "thanks Mom")

and yes, as Marti so rightly says, you will hear yourself sounding like her ... sometimes a comfort, sometimes a hard thing to bear ...

you and yours will be in my thoughts in the days ahead ... may memories of kinder days bring you comfort and a measure of peace
it will take time. I hold you in my heart
Dana said…
Dear Saskia,
I'm so sorry this moment of loss has finally come. No matter how well we think we understand what will happen or how it will be, we can never be truly prepared for the empty place left by those we love. Grief, in all of its complicated manifestations, is a mirror of the relationship. I am thinking of you and your family in this sad time.
Ardensgarden said…
Dear Saskia,
I’m so sorry for your loss.
I hope knowing you are held in loving thoughts brings some comfort.
Peace & love find you & be with you,
buysse maria said…
the circle of life
de oudste dochter (ik ben er ook een)voor jou werd ze de eerste maal een moeder en maakte ze contact met jou als eigenheid , was ook confronterend voor haar / voor beiden , zij wou het goed doen / jij deed het goed , maar niet naar haar normen , jij hebt de jouwe trouw te zijn , liefde is daar de " rode draad " tussen , soms is de draad gewoon op en doe je een nieuw stuk in de naald , de naald en de draad zijn met elkaar verbonden , de naald prikt , of op de juiste plaats of er wat naast of zoekend .
jij die er veel met werkt in je plaids / clots die je maak kent de werking ervan , het resultaat is zoals het is , en zo is het / was het goed ,
Warme harte omhelzing in deze tijd waar de bladeren vallen en de boomsappen zich naar binnen keren om te rusten , om kracht aan te maken voor de komende bloei tijd ,
in die stroom verbonden maria
Saskia said…
hi ((Mo)) she was a remarkable woman and will be missed, not just by me...

40 years is a long time dear Marti....I remember you mentioned this before and thinking at the time how lucky I have been to have had her with me for so much longer, even though it did not always feel like 'luck', it often weighed me down and held me back. Wanting to have her at home was a surprise to all of us and it is the start of the process of letting go...

your tears Nancy and Marti, for me at least, are a sign of your love for ánd your loss of your mothers, our mothers....phew this mother-hood-thing sure means a lot, embracing you both virtually

it is a comfort to know she lives on through me Liz, despite all our arguments and my wanting to be my own person; not only does she carry on in me, my brother's youngest daughter, her youngest grandchild, said the sweetest thing: 'my farmor was my family-idol, I want to grow up just like her and I think I already resemble her in so many ways!' what a tribute....I so enjoy reading your posts about your family and see you surrounded by your (grand)children and marvel at the happiness and love you share

I have time Grace xx

thank you for your words of wisdom Dana, 'grief.....as a mirror of the relationship' succinctly captures the essence

oh Sarita, thank you, during this past week we have been 'held' by many comforting arms

Maria, oudste dochters dragen veel en tegelijk krijgen we veel, ik ben mijn lieve mama dankbaar

Joy said…
Dear Saskia, I am sorry for the loss of your mother. She looks like she was a vibrant, interesting lady.
DILOU said…
Toutes mes condoléances pour cette immense perte. Elle semblait être une femme pleine de vie. Bon courage.
Saskia said…
thank you Joy, she absolutely was
Saskia said…
Dilou, merci beaucoup, elle était une femme exceptionelle....la vie sera un peu vide sans elle
Sue McQ said…
Dear Saskia...firstly, I am so very sorry to hear of your Mom's passing. Mother-Daughter relationships can be a hurdle sometimes. Yes, often, it is because there is a fiber of Mom in your heart from the moment of conception. You may very well experience highs and lows in this "new normal." Days when you still think of arguments, disagreements...but, also, the love and happy times, the lessons, treasured moments. It took me quite some time to come to peace with my Mom after she passed away. Adversity can bring out the best and the worst in people. Be kind to yourself. There is no magic time frame in which to heal. It will come, believe me.
Saskia said…
hi there Sue, thank you for your heartfelt comment and 'yes' to all you mention; it's all okay, I'm okay, because I just am, in the sad moments as well as the joyful ones.



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