That Sunset Hour

I chase sunsets all the time. I’ve been chasing them for years.

Mountain sunsets are dramatic, a different spectacle each evening.

It never really occurred to me until now that some spectacles are real life people who imprint on our hearts before they’re gone forever. And when they leave us they’re like dramatic sunsets, taking over our entire horizon, tinting our hearts with grief and love.

A parent’s death is one of those life changing sunsets, leaving us gutted, lost and bereft. Leaving us softer yet stronger, braver, brighter.

My mother’s numbered days made me realise how much it would change me and how dramatically this sunset would alter my outlook towards life.

My mother was a spectacle and she was beautiful. She was a storm that stirred up the sky and splashed a palette of vibrant colours across my vision. And when the world got tired of her exuberance, it strapped her to a bed where she couldn’t move. But that didn’t dull her shine. She beamed out her light even in her confines and painted pretty pictures with her dazzling mind, vivid as they were. Her laughter was the breeze that lifted me up, floated me on bobbing clouds.

Now in her last days, I watch the fading sun with a sadness that leaves a pit inside me. I will never see her drama again. Never will the sky spin me around with those colours as vibrant as hers. And yet I find strength in it – that this very sunset is what will see me through my darkest days, long after she’s gone. And never will the night sky be meaningless, for I know she will perch herself there on the brightest star and shine her light on me.

I sit on a grassy patch alone every evening, at the top of a hill. I watch the sky turn pink to purple, sometimes pink to ochre . The sunset hour consumes me and I feel whole again.