The loss of my Mother

As a child, pain is a scratched knee or a stubbed toe. Boy does pain feel different now that i'm a grown up. Life seemed so much simpler then when i was a child.

I was seventeen when my mum went missing at sea.  Mum and her partner had sailed from the northern part of the South Island in New Zealand en route to Rarotonga. They had set out on a journey of a lifetime, of adventure, of excitement.  Verona always had that passion and zest for life in her. I think, as my sister and I grew older, she felt she could finally allow herself the opportunity to explore the part of her free spirit, let go of mother-guilt and be the free beign she really was. Unfortunately, it was to be her last adventure.

It’s strange how we can manage to block parts of our subconscious that we’d rather forget.  It is just so much easier that we’d rather forget. It is just so much easier not to face pain head-on. Being teenagers when our mother died, my sister and I headed down different paths. Mine included partying - a lot of it.  And I watched my sister settle into an intense relationship to find some form of safety. We could barely stand to be around each other. Her pain reflected in a mirror image of mine. Our relationship grew worlds apart. The one thing we shared in common during that time was that we were both using very strong influences to try and fill a void. The void that was a huge hole in both our hearts, one that still remains.

The saying is true, you know; you never know what you’ve lost until its gone. Even to this day, my eyes wander to families; a simple gesture of a mother telling a child they’ve done a good job can leave my heart with a stabbing pain. There is no stronger connection than that of a mother to child, a bond that cannot be broken. But why? Why did this pain have to happen to our family?

I believe in karma, but I also believe the universe has a divine plan. I think I used to play up on the fact that I’d experienced pain. Nobody could possibly know or understand what we’d gone through. We were special, and I felt it demanded to be acknowledged. A huge realization for me was that everyone in this world has pain. Nobody’s pain is any less important or any more important. And it’s okay to cry, to make mistakes, to get hurt and hurt others around you. I know I did a lot of those things. A lot. Experiencing pain has helped me to step back and see that when others act out, there may be a reason.

Nobody behaves badly without reason, and I believe deep down most want to be a good person to others. I can’t say it’s been an easy ride, but my sister and I are in the best space we’re ever been right now. She’s my best friend, and we have each other’s back. As I write this, I am planning to head off on an adventure Mum would be proud of—a great walk on my own through Spain, La Camino, a sacred journey where I expect to gently lay down so much more of my pain and heal my heart. I appreciate what this adventure is triggering for my family, but by allowing my free spirit to roam, I will free myself and her from those worrying feelings and give us all back our freedom and joy of adventure.

To mark the ten years since we lost our beautiful mum, my sister and I traveled to a very sacred place in New Zealand called Separation Point high above the ocean to say a releasing ceremony of great love for her. The rain, wind, and everything Mother Nature had decided to join us there where we were going to throw the ashes of letters to Mum into the ocean. We definitely felt Mum’s sense of playfulness traveling with us. If we were planning on being serious the whole trip, she had other plans.

We traversed to the point via water taxi. It was a roller coaster on water, and I felt lucky to still have my breasts attached after that journey, even in a sports bra! Rain and strong wind blew our backs and fronts. As we anchored, a magnificent rainbow played over our heads. We felt Mum smiling at us. As we began the climb, my rain poncho hit a wind gust and nearly flew me sideways off the cliff. My sister came to the rescue, tied it between my legs, and we were in stitches of laughter. We knew there was a colony of birds at the point. My sister has an irrational fear of birds, and as sounds of enormous cawing got louder, she refused to go any further. I told her, “We haven’t come all this way for bloody nothing!” and she bravely kept on.

It turned out the bird sounds were fake, a noise recording by the conservation people to help build up the bird colony. Mum’s sense of humor was with us, having the last laugh. Standing in the pouring rain and wind, scattering the ashes of letters we had written to beautiful Verona was a moment we will never forget. Through the laughter, the tears, the crazy wind and rain in our eyes, we got to say a loving and deeply healing farewell. To overlook the ocean and landscape of the place Mum adored, I found it so hard to stay mad at the ocean. The sea had taken my mother’s life away, and I realized how much anger I had held toward it. I couldn’t stay angry. How could I? Knowing how much life it creates. It is so incredible. I have now forgiven the sea. Although it has been a decade, the pain still spikes, but I allow it and don’t try to push it aside. I allow it to evolve. The anger has left.

Pain demands to be felt and moved through, and Lana and I have done a lot of work on that. Otherwise you just put a big old Band-Aid over a crying wound. A blessing for us is to know that we are loved by our mum eternally. She may have moved into a different room, but I often feel her adventurous spirit with us. This scar of grief made me a woman overnight, a lioness, strong, sometimes tough but powerful.

I have sometimes struggled with trusting love and opening my heart to its fullest. Or to allow myself to get lost in deep love in case it takes me on a dangerous journey, but I do know how to love and hold space for people in a way that offers great and deep care. I know how to really see others.

For 7 years I owned a hair salon, named Verona hair - Verona being my mother's name.  On July 25th 2018 I sold that salon. Something I had tirelessly worked on and created a beautiful environment and space. I had people question how I could let go of something that had my mothers name.  But life is fleeting forever unfolding… and now with this true blessing of her death, I get to align people to live the life they truly desire regardless of their circumstances.

From my legacy of loss and the pain of losing my beautiful mother, I have learned to cherish my relationships with others. I have some very special people in my life, and I do not hesitate to let them know how much they mean to me. They feel heard by me, are met by deep presence. I am not afraid to say, “I love you.” My scar of grief has taught me to be a richer and deeper human being who appreciates that everyone has his or her scar to bear in life. Being comfortable with your scar, your pain, allows healing. It allows the scar to soften around the edges, become less raised and angry. It allows wisdom, depth, and a deeper appreciation of life … and love.

Don’t let pain build up and create a weight on your shoulders. Be vulnerable with those around you. Embrace your scar and love it into a gentle walk to healing. Feel the pain and walk through. It will heal you.

R.I.P Verona Mary Hunt 1959–2005 Lost at sea