Last year my sister & nephew and my family released 73 rubber ducks into the river, as we felt we needed to DO something on the anniversary of her death. This felt incredibly "right" and we promised to do this every year.
This year there were seven of us at a tiny creek that flows into the same river as last year. A new nephew brings perpetual smiles and snuggles to our house every week.
We let Panda (older nephew) toss the ducks in - saying goodbye to each one as they floated away. He loves to throw things into lakes and rivers, and we carefully watched each one as it took a different path on its eventual way to the sea. Badger, (younger nephew) was far more interested in seeing how many people he could snuggle. Nobody complained.
After the ducks were launched, we silently toasted the moment with Mummy's Pepsi, before heading back to therapy, work, school, and housework.
Last year I purchased a second figurine. Rather than constant mourning, I had begun feeling a sense of release so this time I chose the Angel of Freedom. The butterfly seemed perfectly suited for remembering our Madame Butterfly and a quarter-century of showing elementary students how to create butterfly gardens. This tiny angel has now been tucked in with my seasonal decorations, where she will come out each spring.
Over the past month, as I have been preparing to graduate both of my children simultaneously from fifteen years of homeschooling, the word "Teacher" has been rather heavy on my mind. My mummy taught me more than I can list here. One of the things we shared, was a love of cooking. When I was five, she taught me how to make grilled cheese and all-day spaghetti sauce. I canned my first batches of crabapple jelly and zucchini relish with her, when I was twelve years old. By sixteen I was cooking meals several days each week, and experimenting with recipe creation.
My Mummy was my first teacher. This year I chose to add a third figurine to our home - the Angel of the Kitchen. Now, standing next to the teakettle in the tea-and-coffee corner of our kitchen, stands a short-haired, blonde angel. This year, as my time as a teacher is ending, I choose to honor my own first teacher.
Love you, Mummy.