I am sitting at the airport waiting for a flight to Toronto. Less than 11 hours ago my sister called me to tell me my mother had died suddenly and I think I am still in shock.

I recognize this is a very personal moment but since I tell you everything else I feel I can talk to you about this too. It may be selfish but it feels necessary as well. I need to write. Writing helps me.

Mum was not sick. I talked to her just the other night. “Hi Peter, just calling to say hello. Nothing important is going on here.”

As with all our chats on the phone this one ended with the words “I love you” shared between us. I am grateful for this. That these were her last words to me and mine to her.

I might be in shock. I don’t know.

My sister Angel called me and sent several texts saying I needed to call her immediately and I knew there was something wrong the way you do about these things sometimes.

Mum was not answering her phone so Angel went over to see if everything was ok. She found mum in her chair. She seemed to have died in her sleep.

67 years old seems too young for this.

I am warring with myself – part of me wants to excavate every memory of my mum and another part does not want to think about it at all. I go through odd periods where I feel absolutely nothing and then all of a sudden like a well-spring it all comes pouring out in a wet mess.

She was here two days ago and now she is not and I am finding this very difficult.

It feels as if a small explosive device went off somewhere deep inside of my chest. I ache in a way that does not want to stop. I am exhausted although I have slept. I find myself talking to mum in my head – like prayer almost. It is hard to accept that she will not call me next week; that I cannot call her next week to gloat about our weather and tease her about hers.

It is difficult.

Mum is fierce and foundational. Mum is all things. Mum is why I am and I owe her everything.

It is hard to tell people about it. When I told my children it was difficult not to cry and so I did. It doesn’t matter who I talk to…even now it is hard to write these words without gasping as if I no longer have air.

Mum is gone but ever-present now. It is an odd juxtaposition of absence and presence. I am thinking about her all of the time. Every moment is filled with her in a way it has never been before. I don’t like that we take these trips to say goodbye…they should be more for hellos.

I need to go now. They are boarding my plane and I have to start this journey that I don’t really want to take. I know it has already started but I think you know what I mean.

Thanks for listening. I need to go and say goodbye.