I’m preparing for a visit from my sister. She lives across the other side of the country and she and I are both finding that as we get older, we are softer to one another. More compassionate about the challenges we face, more cognisant of the similarities than all the differences. I find myself seeing my sister through our mother’s eyes. With a special kind of maternal love and tenderness; a kindness that evaded me in my younger years. I think we recognise that without our mother, we are the only ones who can bring Mum’s loveliness back. By being her hands, her heart… for each other.
At the local grocer’s, I was looking at the fresh cut flowers, mentally relishing the names of all the flowers Mum loved. I saw the Alstromarias, the Roses (blush pink for the wedding dress she sewed my sister) and the Leukodendrons. I could almost hear my mother’s voice, patiently showing me how to trim the stems, why we do; chatting as she arranged stems lovingly in a vase. She loved flowers. I bought the pink roses, the pink and plum-toned Alstromarias she favoured in her garden (they last such a long time, she would say… a brilliant cut flower) and the green and deep burgundy Leukodendrons. I bought them on behalf of my Mumma, a tribute of her love for my sister.
Earlier, at the hospital pharmacy, my eye was drawn to all the things that Trissy would love. I chose some sugar free jubes, smiling at the memory of how Mum used to squash jubes and marshmallows between thumb and forefinger before popping them into her mouth with a flourish. I chose some jelly beans, because Mum liked them too, she kept them in her handbag and would sneak a few in at an opportune moment. I chose some soap that smelled of Guava, a strong childhood memory portal, that scent.
I feel my Mumma close to me today, as I get ready to see her other girl. My sister and I will chat all weekend about her, about life and love and motherhood and all-the-things. I look at my hands, looking more and more like I remember hers. The same lines. The same textures and contours. I like that. Her hands, my hands.
Just for a while this weekend; the strength of longing of two girls for their Mum will be satiated by some time spent with someone who understands. Like no other person could.
In the presence of what remains. Each other; sisters, daughters.
Mum’s hands, Mum’s heart.