The Absence Fills

Sometimes there are no words that can comfort.

Instead, friends bring flavours, smells, textures. They bring pastry, and chocolate mousse cake. The Animator cooks me fish and rice. Others bring a fruit tart in the depths of winter. Mangoes. A casserole.

The Queer Colleague drove all the way to her favourite bakery uptown to bring luxurious quiche and a chocolate mousse cake that floated down our throats (my mom would have loved that cake).

The Poet brought me chilaquiles on Saturday, for brunch. She was offhanded about it, in her hipster-ish way, but I could tell she’d thought carefully about what to make and how it would comfort: food from home.


Where is my mother? I asked The Spiritually Inclined Colleague, over tea and the lemon squares she brought. I’ve been looking for her everywhere. She’s inside you, she said, quite confidently.

I’ve been wearing my mom’s slippers. I’ve been cleaning out my cupboards in a way only she would do. I’ve been chatting with strangers (I don’t usually do that), feeling the warmth of their humanity.


My mother is with me. And yet I also feel that some enormous, essential part of me is missing, having been violently wrenched away. It is a confusing paradox. Contemplating this is exhausting.

The days tick by. Ten days, then two weeks and now over a month since she died. The absence of her is deafening. Where did she go?

Friends call, email, drop by. Condolence cards arrive, with carefully-written inscriptions.

For some small moments, the absence fills.

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