Here is a picture my son has of his mother as a young schoolgirl.
Her voice in the night woke me up. Was it a dream or a visit from the beyond? My beautiful Maria in her splendour was standing over my bed as she often did to see that I was well, and not awake worrying about her deteriorating health during the last eighteen months of her life.
Her apparition so soon after her death last week was a comfort, a solace and proof that she will always be there for me and our son. Her voice, lyrical as usual, was angelic in tone and delivery.
She said to me: ‘Save your tears, I’m well looked after, don’t be a cry-baby. I know you are strong and capable of dealing with the situation.’ She added: ‘My pains are gone. I feel the kind of serenity after a storm. Be comforted that my love will never wilt. I shall look out for you and my beloved Ramsay wherever you are and whenever you need me. Death is only a progression to greater things, so please “my pappi” [as she often called me] don’t disappoint me. Carry on with your work and make me proud of you as I always was.
‘Mourning is a sign of despair. I want you to forge ahead as if I’m beside you holding your hand. I want you to celebrate the memories that held us together for six decades and to remember that at the outset of our relationship, our Spartan existence made us cuddle most of the winter nights to fend off the chill that pervaded the cold room where we humbly lived. It was a joyous time despite the hardship.’
I can never forget our early years together, which we shared with tenacity and fortitude. Maria, you will be my Icon, the woman who made me the man I am. I promise I will never let you down. Without your constant guidance and love I will not be able to survive the tangible loss of your not being physically there. So please, stay by my side and give me the strength I need. With the grace of God and his benevolence, I shall continue to carry out the destiny you paved for me relentlessly and with such conviction.