Overluchting – before the dawn

The clothes hanging over the edge of the laundry hamper in her closet were as she’d left them. I am wearing some of them now. The teal-coloured Haida long-sleeved t-shirt.

I love to wear something that was close to her body when she’d been alive and well. It’s a comfort. I have been doing that every day.


Mom, there is so much to do that it’s hard to make time to process anything, and for that I am somewhat grateful. Yesterday, for the first time, all the visitors having left, there was finally enough time and yet too much time, and I spent it trying to escape the terrible feeling of loss and regret.

Mainly, the constant re-realizing that here I am, in your house of dreams, where you’ve wanted me to be for so long, and yet you yourself are not physically here.

That we will not visit your favourite shops together, play the piano together, have coffee on the upstairs veranda together overlooking the sea. That we will not sit at the kitchen table together, me recording your story snippets — all that is gone forever, and can’t be regained. Any plans I had or have for that are useless now. What I have left is the dear folks left behind, and yet I’ve momentarily lost the urge to do anything meaningful, even as I realize how important meaningful life work is, now that you are suddenly gone.

I think on your life and all you achieved and it makes me amazed. I feel I’ve been terribly lazy by comparison. I know what you’d say in response to that, but your kindness and encouragement was so automatic and unconditional that I never took it seriously. And yet it was so much a part of my survival that I’d come to rely on it.

I knew I always had a friend and cheerleader in you.

I can’t stand the fact that you’re gone. Any philosophical resolve to accept it, any knowledge I have of how matter and energy work, that the concept of spirit persists in memory and emotions and all that, is useless to me in this moment.

I just wish you were here.

The hardest, and at the same time most beautiful thing, is that every line fits into a song you’ve sung, and your voice is everywhere in my head, along with your quick smile and your positive attitude.

I have to say that writing all this down helps a lot — and you helped give me that ability, too.

Dad got me my first diary and told me to document everything, but you gave me permission to do any creative act imperfectly. You understood that was the essence of creativity. And you imparted that to so many people. You changed the world for the better in that way.

It’s raining here today, and your sea view is still darkest grey… I sit in the soft rocking chair with my laptop, it’s the first time I’ve done my morning pages since arriving.

If I can do this every morning, I imagine myself surviving.

I feel like you are right here. This is the only time I’ve felt truly connected with you, and yet also accepting of my own true feelings, without burdening anyone else with them.

You knew me better than anyone and yet, in spite of that, you thought I was perfect as I was.

I find that feeling here again, now… in spite of all my terrible inadequacies.

The rain is ticking softly on your sloped ceilings, your house is warm and clean and just so much as you’d left it; your art everywhere, such a homey yet tidy place… it paints a picture of someone who loved and cared for things, and for life in general… but more than anything, it shows someone who loved the people in it, above all.

Love you mom.

Thanks for being here, now.





[caption added 2020-02-10] this is one of my mom’s paintings — a Dutch canal. It inspired the title of this piece, overluchting, a word I’ve made up, but that has its origins in Dutch — in Dutch, the word over can mean “about,” and the word luchting means “relief” or “light-bringing.” My mom’s name, Lucie, also means “bringer of light”


2020-01-31 07:07 PST


Friends… those were yesterday’s pages.  Just wanted to say thanks for your support. Every kind word has been a gift and a comfort. Today is better than yesterday. Thanks in part to you.


22 thoughts on “Overluchting – before the dawn

    1. Nadine,
      As I’m new here, I didn’t know of your grievous loss. I am so sorry, though I can see that you’ve found a helpful blend of mourning and inching forward simultaneously.

      Your mother sounds extraordinary, and your rendering touched me deeply. I especially appreciated the lines that she knew you better than anyone and yet found you perfect. That reminded me of my mom and is, I believe, the essence of mother love.

      The painting is wonderful. Are there more that you’ll be sharing with us?

      Take good care.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Annie, thanks for this lovely comment… she was extraordinary, certainly in my view and those closest to her, at least, and yes, you’ve said it exactly, her attitude embodied the essence of mother love. My sister and I were very lucky.

        Thanks for the ask about the paintings, I have indeed been thinking about sharing more of them, somehow, perhaps here is the best place for now… or perhaps another WP blog… your comment spurs me on a little, and is very encouraging, so again, sincerest thanks. ❤︎🙏

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Rachel…
      such kind and beautiful words, as always… the sadness is dissipating, since writing that, and in spite of us missing mom, I am more and more grateful for this time to be here with my dad, and in this house… full of books and other long-ago treasures. My dad and I are similar in many ways, so we potter about at a compatible rhythm, in between the to-do’s. Thanks for the love, gratefully received, and reflected back to you, lovely friend xoxo


    1. Dear Dr. Bob… thank you, very much… you guessed it… yes writing these feelings, finally, was a huge release, and there were indeed tears… I feel the empathy in your comment, and it truly touches me… thanks again, dear friend


        1. Aw Pam you are so lovely to say that… admission: I have this issue where most of the time I start out with the purge/brain dump, and within a few paragraphs (or sometimes less) end up writing with an audience in my head… (even if it’s just one person, in my mind… in this case, my mom…) I keep trying to override it but with limited success these days… so I just let it ride or basically I wouldn’t write at all. Thanks a lot, I never know how the words will seem to others… your encouragement is uplifting. 💖

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I know it will go down as one of the most selfish comments on this post but I’ll say it out loud at once — thank you, Nadine, for writing this for all of us.

    I know that pain. And I won’t lie but it only increases with time. But I assure you, even that pain is very comforting — just like everything else about the mothers.

    I can feel each line in this post except where you mentioned wearing your mother’s clothes… I’d look super ugly if I were to attempt wearing my mother’s clothes. Besides women here in India drape themselves in Saris. Now visualise. Akarsh in a Sari. And now I’ll give you a moment to wipe that image of mine off your mind. It was just to make you smile Nadine.

    On a serious note, I have never — I emphasise never — paid any more attention to anything in a long long time than I did to this wonderfully crafted piece while reading it… Each written word is a gem. Pin this post up on your website so that many could read it at once…

    Be stoic.

    Love and lots of love from India…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Akarsh, what a beautiful and generous comment, certainly not selfish in any way, far from it, and especially because it certainly did make me smile to think of you wearing a sari. Haha, I loved that. For the record it was fuchsia in my mind, maybe with some hints of lavender, and gold trim. But seriously I knew you wrote that to make me smile, which was a very sweet thing to do. So thank you… and for your very kind words about the piece as well. Much love, writing friend, xoxoxo n


  2. That is so beautiful Nadine! Your Mum sounds amazing! Such heartfelt words! A beautiful painting! And what a beautiful spirit you are! Have felt a bit lost just lately but am slowly trying to rekindle that spark. This moving post has inspired me! thank you! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a huge lot, lovely Liola, such very cheering words. I hear you on the feeling lost, there are these dips that happen, aren’t there. I feel sure you will be able to rekindle, you are such a very creative person with many talents. Thanks so much for your kind visit xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

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