Monday, 17 May 2010

Mayfly Day

I am not sure if my Mom ever talked about her funeral book. I don't think it took her long to do (I am only saying this because I never saw her doing it) but it was real treasure to have when she died. She had shown it to us months before she died. She was really quite excited about it. I read it through and was happy that I had such a creative Mom. We all agreed it would come in handy when she died 40 years later at 90 something (writing that last line makes me jealous that some people could have their mother around for so long, even though I am trying to be grateful that I had her for as long as I did).

The funeral book was like a little scrapbook that she put together. The right sided pages were for all her business matters and requests (like the silly cardboard box she wanted for her cremation and readings she wanted at her funeral). The left sided pages were for all her pictures, quotations about living and dying, scraps of things she has collected over the years...even something I had written at the age of 12 about how wonderful life was. This little book of hers helped us through the first part of losing her, I know my Dad was especially grateful. We could hear her voice and we appreciated that she thought of this and for one last time, she was able to take care of things for us.

One of the readings we decided to add to the funeral was called 'Mayfly Day' by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross. My Mom found this book and fell in love. She bought as many as she could and I took her to several bookstores for her to find some more (we were out of luck). I am lucky to have one of the copies and on the inside cover she quoted, "She makes one last wish...." from the book. I am trying to make myself read this little book and live by it. I am trying to be present in this moment in my life. I am finding it dreadfully hard to make my Mom a memory of mine and move on with my life. It just isn't enough for someone so grand to be simply a memory. But I also know that I will not do her justice or proud if I don't take life by the horns and ride it.

Mayfly Day (by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross)

Here is Mayfly,
It is her first day on earth.
It is also her last.
Mayflies only live for one day.
But is she sad?
Not at all.
She is happy to be alive!

This isn't any old day.
This is the best of days.
She lives for each moment.
She sees the world begin,
She hears the crack of dawn.
And bathes in its golden glow.
A billion buds burst open.
All for her!

She tastes her honey.

Mayfly sees eggs hatch.
Babies born.
Lambs learning to stand.
The business of ants.
The dizziness of children...
The loveliness of things.

She feels the sun's warm hug.
The kiss of summer rain.
The magic of the rainbow.

It is her wedding day.
Trees throw confetti.
There are games on the lawn.
Breezes blow, bells chime.
Birds sing!
She dancesto the music of the universe.

Mayfly lays her eggs.
It is a peaceful night.
The best of nights.

She makes one last wish:
'Little ones, may all your tomorrows be as perfect as my yesterday!'
Mayfly watches the moon come up and the stars go out.
And is thankful for her wonderful life.

*This is a picture my uncle just found of my beautiful Mom (on the right) and my beautiful Auntie Jaquie.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

A wise and wonderful poem! Of course your Mom would choose it! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Elizabeth said...

Your mother sent me this book and inscribed it to me last year. I only met her through our blogs, but it meant so much to me and still sits, right above my computer on my desk. Renee was such a dear, dear person, so supportive and giving to all.

kj said...


my god....this post could have been written by your Mom. every word is that good, that true, that incredible. i have to tell you i am shocked to read the quality, skill, wisdom, intimacy, joy of this,and i am so grateful.

you know the expression, "god dwells within you as you'....all i can think is "renee dwells within you as you.'

Your Mom would be to the moon and back over this post. she would say, 'how fucking fantastic is angelique!'

please continue writing here, angelique. i hope you will, i hope you can. because this is going to do you a world of good and the rest of us, dear dear angelique, you are balm for our mournful souls.

forever strong: love multiplies,


The Strawberry Mallard said...

As soon as I saw the picture, I thought to myself ( being born the same year as Renee ), what joy in her face...and sweetie you are are so very generous to share MayFly with all of us.
Please remember that whatever yo are feeling on any given day is how you are supposed to feel...grief comes in waves, feelings fluctuate from day to day...........breath......we are all here hugging you!

Robyn said...

i love that picture very much of your beautiful mum and aunt jacquie.

thank you for all that you share here since renee's departure.

love to you and yes i can understand your pain at trying to make your much loved mum a memory.

you are wise and you will get on with your beautiful life.

x robyn

Jos said...

One thing you can always be sure of Angelique is that Renee has always almost burst with pride over her family. Such a loving person in life ... and she is still in our hearts as we honour her memory.

You're right that it seems entirely inadequate to consign Renee to be just a memory. How true that is.

I love the photo. Isn''t that smile something else??

As always you and your family are very much in my thoughts and prayers. xx Jos

Cinner said...

Angelique, this is a beautiful post, and yes she would be so proud of you. take each day as it comes and just feel through the process. always think of your mom and your family.

Lori ann said...

i'm sorry you are hurting, your words made my heart ache. i'm hoping coming here, writing this post is somewhat of a comfort to you. and even if it isn't, the love that is about to surround you hopefully will be. just like your mothers book, this blog is full of your mom. her words, her thoughts, her soul.
you probably already know, but you can have this blog printed into a book, maybe that would be something you'd like to do.
thank you for sharing your beautiful mom with us.
♥ lori

Mim said...

wow. Great picture of Renee and Jacqui; I love it.

That Mayfly poem is beautiful; it is so hard to live for the moment isn't it? We have to keep reminding ourselves of the beauty of life.

I agree with KJ - your mom would have loved this post - and she would be saying that all of her goodness lives on in her children - which it does.

Lydia said...

I love the poem and am thankful to you for posting it.

Silke said...

Dear Angelique, it was like hearing Renee's voice through your post! You know, Angelique, my mother has been dead for 23 years now and you'd think she had only been a memory now for many years. But that is not so. She is as integral a part of my life as she has ever been. It's just different because she's not here physically, but I still have access to her love and her guidance. And I have a feeling it's going to be very similar for you. Sending much love!! Silke

studio lolo said...

I knew without a doubt that was Renee in the photo! Her smile was infectious even then. Look how happy she is playing with her dear sister, Jacquie.

I'm going to try to find a copy of this book somehow. It's quite beautiful, as is this heartfelt post.
KJ's right, your mom would be so proud of you for posting this and keeping this part of her life alive.

Thank you Angelique. It will get easier, but you will never stop missing her. (nor will I.)

Lolo ♥

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

How wonderful that you have the same instinct to share such profoundly helpful insights here, just as your dear mother did.

What an exceptional poem!!!

While your mother is a grand memory she is still a force at work in so many people's lives. How lucky you were ... and are!!!

Doris Sturm said...


This is the second time I read your post and I don't quite know what to say, except thank you! I know I shouldn't cry, because it's just life being life, but life sucks sometimes - correction: death sucks and I will never get used to it.
I'm so sorry for your loss!

yoborobo said...

Angelique, I love that your mom made a funeral book. She was always thinking about you, and I know she wanted to help you through this any way that she could. What a lot of love she had for you and your family. I know you didn't get to have her here for nearly as long as you needed to. I know it must be so damn hard to try and pick up your life and live it, but you know, as you said, that is exactly what she would want you to do. That picture says it all: the joy in her face, and a beloved family member holding her. You keep holding each other, and remember we are all here for you. Much love to your family - xoxox Pam

PS My verify word is 'braveroq'. That reminds me exactly of Renee. :)

Yarrow said...

So beautiful. I wasn't sure I'd be able to read it, but I did, although I'm feeling pretty choked now. Thank you for sharing such wonderful words.

I've done a crazy thing and entered something called Race for Life which is a charity that supports Cancer Research. I'm not a very fit person and running a mini marathon is not something that I'm relishing, but I'm doing it all the same. I would be very honoured if I could wear Renee's name on my back, but only with your permission.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

This post is absolutely beautiful and strikes home so hard that I am sitting with tears in my eyes.
The poem is one every one of use should live by, for no matter what our age, however much time we have with one we love it is not enough.
And yet, they are always in our heart; in our steps and gestures and words and laughter.
Your mom's spirit is with you Angelique, and will walk beside you and gently move you forward---it is a journey of measured steps and time.
And you receive many prayers, though you may not know it.
Walk gently, be good to yourself, and thank you for sharing this part of your life.


Diva Kreszl said...

what a lovely picture to have of your Mom and could see the sparkle in her eye even then! Your mother's book is a gift to be treasured, how amazing that she thought to leave you with a bit of herself and to share here philosophies with you. Sweet one, your Mom will never be 'just a memory' her soul is just too big for that, she lives on in each of you and will always be walking beside you, carrying you through the difficulties and rejoicing at your triumphs. It will take quite a bit of time for the loss and pain to subside but eventually you will spend more and more time celebrating her greatness. You will always miss her dear one, she was too big of an influence to simply become a mere memory. Bless you all and I pray that God wraps His loving arms around you and comforts you during this time.

Robin said...

Dear Angelique,
It is wonderful to hear from you.
You write beautifully, deeply and with love - just like Renee.

I know this book....and it is so filled with Renee's vision of how life should be lived.

I am not surprised that Renee planned out what she wanted for her funeral... anything and everything to make it "easier" for her beloved family.

And the photo.... of course, we all knew she was lovely.... but to see her youthful and healthy stance, her grace, her beautiful eyes and smile, (I could tell at once which girl she was.) made me smile too.

You ARE getting on with your life - even if you don't believe it. You have your little ones, your family to help nudge you gently on.
This is not to say you are leaving Renee behind....because you are not. She lives.... she lives through you, Wahid, Jacqui, all the children, her friends and even us...

We all love you and the family and always will. I am thrilled you are continuing to write and share for your "Blogging Family".

Much love and many hugs to all,

♥ Robin ♥

Gloria said...

This was a beautiful post and I felt Renee at the forefront. I thank you for sharing the reading from her little book. I miss Renee. Thank you Angelique.

Annie said...

This is beautiful and your mom is so proud. She will never be just a memory, but you will move on with your life, give it time. Your mom is with you every minute of everyday and always will be, she wants you to be happy.
Thank you for this beautiful poem and photo and thank you for keeping your mom's blog alive.

Yoli said...

I will echo the same sentiments of Strawberry Mallard. We are all here hugging you dear girl. Your mother was and is an amazing force. She lived like that beautiful poem and touched so many of us on her journey through life. Let her joy of life always give you courage.

Deborah said...

De-Lovely. The photo is fantastic. I can put faces to some of Renee's hilarious stories about growing up. I think about Renee every day...actually it's more like I consult with her. She has changed me and my desire is to continue to see life through her perspective, that of the Mayfly. Yes, De-Lovely. Blessed be God forever, blessed be His Holy Name. How He delights in his handmaid who served him so well. Blessings rain down from in it and catch the drops.
All my love to you, Deb

Marion said...

What a beautiful, joyful photo of your Mom and Jacquie! Your Mother was the most thoughtful, loving person I've ever 'met'. I like the idea of her Funeral Book and I'm glad it brought you all some peace of mind. I miss her, too, and pray for y'all often. Thank you for sharing this with us. The poem is amazing!!Love & Blessings!

Debra said...

Love the poem, and your mom.

Anonymous said...

That poem just set things right for me today - makes me appreciate the time I've had and the people I surround myself with.

And the words in that poem are SO Renee! It's as if she could've written it herself.

Dawn said...

I revisit again and feel so grateful to have found your mums wonderful blog and to see that you have written such beautiful posts, I love the Mayfly poem, I have read so much of your mums blog over the last few weeks and am so touched and have shed a few tears along the way, she was the most remarkable woman indeed.


Art by Sascalia said...

Angelique thanking you so much for sharing "Mayfly Day" with us. It's beautiful! Sending you my love! xx

Manon Doyle said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It brought a little tear to my eyes but put a big smile on my face. Your mom would love that you posted this!! xoxo

Baino said...

There is one small advantage to knowing and that's being prepared. You're lucky to have that memento and created by your mum. The poem is so typical of her! I can't tell you how grateful I am that you're keeping her memory alive.

~* Peach Street Folk Art *~ said...

Thank you! Each new post is a treasure to us all. I hope you know that!


deb said...

I will try to live this always.

grieve in your own way. give yourself time.

and that photo, oh my.

Michelle said...

Angelique...I am lucky enough to ave a copy of that book sent to me by your mum to help me get through the dying of my mum. Your mother was a huge spirit and I know she still is. touched so many people. I am grateful to have been one of them. I guess it just takes time. Lots of time. Much love to you xxxx

Woman in a Window said...

Oh, there she is in her raucous days of youth. Some of my favorite stories of all time, I do believe, are the very real ones your mom shared about her and her sisters growing up. She was raw and tender. She was everything good. There are many of us who did learn and will keep learning from her.

I'd hug you if I could, just to let you know ~


Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Thank you, Angelique, for sharing this, it is a lofty goal to live each day like this...but one goal certainly worth the effort of trying...Amazing poem so captures it.

suzanne said...

Thank you so very much for sharing this poem and your feelings. Please continue to write whenever you feel able to. It's true. Grief does fluctuate from day to day. I lost my Mom a little more than a year ago and some days I think that I have my emotions all under control. Then a subtle memory or something said will bring me to tears all over again. Everyone called her GG for Great Grandma. My almost 3 yr. old granddaughter not too long ago said " I want to go to GG's house!" She was very excited when she said this. After a few seconds I realized that she had only seen her GG twice and both times she was an infant. No one can figure out why she said this. When I saw your post about your daughter outside and seeming to be with or knowing her Grandma was near it brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart. My Mother also adored children and taught me how to be a loving grandmother by her actions. I truly believe that a love so strong as the love your Mom has for your daughter and the love my Mom has for her Grand and Great Grandchildren is eternal. Suzanne

suzanne said...

Thank you so very much for sharing this poem and your feelings. Please continue to write whenever you feel able to. It's true. Grief does fluctuate from day to day. I lost my Mom a little more than a year ago and some days I think that I have my emotions all under control. Then a subtle memory or something said will bring me to tears all over again. Everyone called her GG for Great Grandma. My almost 3 yr. old granddaughter not too long ago said " I want to go to GG's house!" She was very excited when she said this. After a few seconds I realized that she had only seen her GG twice and both times she was an infant. No one can figure out why she said this. When I saw your post about your daughter outside and seeming to be with or knowing her Grandma was near it brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart. My Mother also adored children and taught me how to be a loving grandmother by her actions. I truly believe that a love so strong as the love your Mom has for your daughter and the love my Mom has for her Grand and Great Grandchildren is eternal. Suzanne

Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...


I am always delighted to see new post from you. Renee would smile I'm sure. The words are strung together like beautiful pearls and the familiarity is so much like your mother's. As I've read in the comments before, hopefully these post will help you along during this grievous time and bring you some sort of comfort. They are wonderfully written. Thank you for continuing to share.

Elizabeth said...

Such a beautiful post
worthy of your dear mother
ow hard it is to live in the moment with joy

Renee was a great teacher and I bet she is thrilled up in heaven with how her family still celebrate her


Anonymous said...

Your dearest mum, how beautiful she looks on this photo. Her shinning spirit! Angelique, you're a star!
How much love your mum wanted to give you always. I don't think there is anything in life or death that will stop her from being with you!

Beautiful you are!



Sarah said...

Awww hon... this is beautiful..what a wonderful gift she left you all!! I loved the poem...loooved it! I wish my Mama had done so wonderful to be able to go back and read her thoughts and wishes. I miss mine too hon and it has been over 20 years, I was 27. Sending hugs and love your way..your Mama has been on my mind too..I miss her so!
Sweetie...I love that you keep writing here..I love being able to come and hear your voice..and maybe make your walk through this a bit softer..maybe just a little!
Hugs and love, Sarah

Great-Granny Grandma said...

What a beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing it with us, Angelique. I too hope you continue posting to this blog started by your mom.

karen gerstenberger said...

Your precious mother is still mothering you through that book. What a gift to enjoy forever!

She sent me a copy of "Mayfly Day," too. It's on our coffee table, in the living room, and I treasure it. When I tell people who it's from, they are filled with wonder.

Your mom is also the reason that I found the book, "Cancer: 50 Essential Things to Do." I admire the way she took that book and made it her own. She listened deeply to the questions in the book and then shared her answers with us on the blog. I am thankful to her for sharing so deeply with us.

Thank you for continuing to share your thoughts and feelings here. It is very comforting to hear from you. XOXOXO

Pattee said...

I am so sorry that I haven't been able to post... to this beautiful post about your mum.. I cry every time I read that poem and when my husband reads it.... I cry harder.That you're mum left a "funeral" book just makes me heartsick~and yet so it is so beautiful!

Thank you Camilla for posting on my blog...

I miss your mom,sister, daughter, son, wife, friend.... It pains me and it lifts me..

You're mom, wife, sister, daughter, wife, friend will always, always be be in my heart and in my soul forever~

Much love to you that are living and remembering her soul, her light and laughter. Her keen sense of intuition ~

GOD I miss your mom, wife, sister!!!

Sydney said...

What an inspiring, truthful and impressive poem. I am so glad you posted it, as of course I was terribly curious about the book now. And what a treasure the picture was! So grateful for your posts, and for you!

Anonymous said...


this is beautiful - my favorite poem - a script for life.


Kelly Lish said...

Your Mom was such a special person. I wrote about her on my blog today. I've been missing her.

LDWatkins said...

Seldom does a day pass that I don't think of Renee. I've not posted much, just can't somehow. This poem I'll carry forever. When I go, I'll go on the 'Mayfly's' wings. Angelique, your mom was so intense..her long life was lived in a short period. I, too, am so sorry you didn't have her longer. But, you do. She is so inside of you, such a part of you. We all know that.

kj said...

dearest camille,

would you send me your email address at


turquoise cro said...

Such a SWEET post!!! I LOVE that pic of your mother and Jacquie!!! I think I had some stripe pants just like that!! Thank YOU!!!Angelique for being here for us! I miss Renee so!

Gloria said...

Here to let you know I'm thinking of you. I come here like I always did, to visit you and I will be here at your little place on the net where I can still feel your radiance. Love you amiga. gloria

BT said...

What a wonderful photo of Renee and Jacqui. That poem is just wonderful and a perfect choice - well, of course it was.

Do keep writing for us - it is lovely to read how you are all getting on. I think of Wahid so much and how he must miss your Mum terribly.

Hugs to you all.

Anonymous said...

Hi Angelique, I love the poem. You write just like your mom. What a wonderful talent. The picture if Renee and Jacquie is priceless. Love to you all, Barb

David said...

Renee is the only person I know who annually "shopped" for all her funeral needs. She would come to the Tuesday Group and be quite excited about the trip to meet with her funeral director and the new things she learned. Each year comparing how much she paid (way back when) to what the price is now, for each item. Making changes and adjustments as she felt the need. Renee wanted to make sure that she reduced the stress, of everything that surrounds a funeral, for her family.

Nothing can take away from the loss of someone so dear as Renee. My hope is that she made some of the decisions just a little easier for all she loved and cared for so deeply.

rob@stylebymommy said...

so much love
"A" will know this poem by heart. I promise.

Jenniwren said...

Your Mum would be so proud of her beautiful daughters. Renee lives on through you both. I see her in your writing, your expressions and your compassion. I know how hard it is for you to move on with your life without her, but as long as you believe she is there with you, she will be.
When a butterfly flies close to you, when a bird sings a song, when a warm breeze brushes your face and when you suddenly remember a random thought about your Mum, she is there with you.

Marie S said...

Your mom is so beautiful!! She is so happy! I miss her very much! I do feel her though, in the light, in the laugh, and in the love all around me.
Bless you dear one!

Bella Sinclair said...

Dearest Angelique,

I am smiling, thinking of beautiful little Josephine. In my mind, she is just as she was in a photo that your mother sent me, in little curly pigtails and a striped grey coat. I guess she's a little bigger in size now, and also bigger in charm and personality. I hope she had a wonderful birthday today. I hope she stole a moment to talk to the air. I hope that before she closed her tired eyes to sleep, she searched for the bestest star in the sky. Happy birthday, little Josephine. I am tremendously honored that you posted the drawing.

And a warm cheers for Sheldon, too. He leaves a deep hollow that can never be filled. How beautiful for you all to gather in honor of his birthday.

Thank you so much for your message earlier today. There is so much I would like to tell you, but every time I try, it comes out as incoherent garbage. I cannot find the right words to express my sorrow or my wish to bring you some relief. I want to tell you that it gets better with time. And that's true in some ways. But it's been nearly a year for me, and sometimes I still catch myself crumbling. The sudden onset of grief surprises me.

What breaks me the hardest is the thought of my children missing their father. I hear them talk about the games they played and how they wish he could still play and the tears just burst through. I go to music recitals and Open House at school, and I think, 'Damn, he should be here to see this.' And then I think of graduations and weddings and all that he will miss, and that my children will miss, and I lose myself in the sadness.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I know what you mean by solo traveler. It's a lonely road that seems to stretch on forever. But if you look a little to the left, a little to the right, you will see that there are people walking with you, who will hold hands with you, and keep you company.


ps. I love this Mayfly book. It is part of my treasured library. That your mother believed so much in its message that she spread it throughout the world makes me love it even more.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

This is the loveliest of stories. Your mom was spectacular and she lives on through you. I shall have to find this little book.

lawatha said...

As I was reading this post, it seemed as though Renee had written it. You have the same endearing style as your Mom... and lo and behold my eyes go right to KJ's comment when I came to write you, and she said exactly the same thing I was thinking, only better! You definitely do your sweet Mom proud. Thank you for continuing her blog in such fine fashion. It's like a piece of Renee is still here with us, sharing with us, loving us and letting us love her. Thank you.

Deborah said...

Thank you for this tonight, Lovee.