Floating Thoughts of My Parents

I guess it is fairly inevitable that when I come to das Boot thoughts of Mother’s final days accompany me. They move from background to foreground without warning, but they are always, always there.
Why the slight movement of the galley curtain in this evening’s breeze should bring the moments just after I heard she had died into sharp focus I do not know. But suddenly I am there again, looking out of the window at the boat moored across from me. My coffee at hand. An event anticipated, expected, sometimes almost desired when we thought of what Mother’s future might be. And the stillness of it, the nothingness and the enormity wash over me once more.
I was teaching full time when my father died. I got the news as I was going to bed. The next morning one of my my main concerns was that I had exercise books of several classes at home as I had marked them the previous evening. I suppose it was displacement. My head of department told me not to worry, my pupils could work on file paper for the time being. She was right.
Death makes everything topsy turvy. It is almost four months since Mother died. So that means it is four months since MasterB and I came to stay on das Boot during her final illness and after. The stars conjoin. Mother will never really leave me. I don’t mean that in a morbid Psycho sort of way. I hear myself using phrases of my father’; doing things the way Mother did them; wondering how they would enjoy things I was unable to share with them.
Mother only came to the marina once. She enjoyed it. When she understood I was getting a boat she was thrilled, then worried.
“How am I going to get onto it?” she said.
With a hoist and a lot of screaming, I answered.
Of course she never came aboard, never actually saw das Boot, only pictures. But she and Dad would have loved it. He and his brother built a boat in the thirties, and he was a Royal Marine Commando in the Second World War. If I had had the means to buy a boat years ago when both my parents were able bodied I would never have got them away from it. Maybe that’s why when I am here, both my parents feel close, and on a soft evening like this, their laughing, capable company is precious.

7 thoughts on “Floating Thoughts of My Parents

  1. Isobel, such a beautiful post. It is nice to hear that your Mom and Dad loved boating too and that das Boot is a good memory. I wondered if it would be hard for you to go back and then find that it didn’t work for you at all, that it would be sad to be there. Your last sentence, I am so happy they feel close as you are there enjoying das Boot. Take care Isobel.

    • It is hard, but not in the ay I thought it might be. If I post later, i shall try to explain.
      Mum was a good sailor, a lover of rough crossings from Stranrar to Larne. Dad did open sea canoeing and goodness only knows what as a Marine commando. I often wonder why they dodn’t talk of having a boat when they retired.

  2. Lovely memories – bittersweet maybe but lovely. There are, even after many, many years, certain things that I think “I wish Mom (or Dad) was here just now” – it’s nice that your Mom got to see das Boot and no doubt your Dad would have loved the fact that you got it. They really never leave us it seems…..not totally…..which is I think as it should be.


    • The memories are the more bittersweet as I am nly adding to them now she is dead.
      She saw the marina, but not das Boot. First I found my mooring, then I found my boat. Toiday i introduced my nephew to the man who kept trying to get mum to drink neat gin when she came here. They got on well. Not sure what that means… 🙂

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