Before I even knew it, I had planned a trip back. My flights have been booked for a couple months, plans were made and it wasn’t until yesterday when I first though, “I’m going back.”

Back is to Regina. Because of my mom’s illness, only one crematorium in the province could perform the process for us, and it was in Regina. So after she passed away, off we went to Regina. It actually worked out quite well, because mom’s best friend lives there, and our one cousin (yes, one cousin total) has a beautiful property just outside the city. It’s been over 5 years since I have been back. Which is sad, just because it’s taken me this long to get back to my loved ones, but life happened. And I find it interesting how I always connected hard emotions with North Battleford and Batoche, but never Regina before. Now I am faced with them.

Reflecting back on those days, here are the memories that stand out.

  • There were four of us ladies at the crematorium for the service. Me, Marlene, Lise and Julie. While standing outside, in the strong sunshine, waiting to be called in, Marlene presented us each with a silver, butterfly earring. She bought two matching pairs so each of us got one. Immediately, I poked mine through the grey cashmere Club Monaco scarf I had received from Nick. And that scarf still has the butterfly tucked away in its folds. 5 years later. At one point Julie had hers on the sun visor in her SUV and she told me it was so that Anne-Marie was always watching her while she was driving. I wonder where those butterflies are now.
  • My mom was in a cardboard box. Once we were called inside, there was a little viewing room where we all took a seat. At the front was my mom, covered with a sheet. The service director removed the sheet to reveal a cardboard box with markers on top. He explained that we were all welcome to take turns going up to the front, and writing a message on the box. I found this hilarious, and I leaned over to Lise and whispered, “Lise? Is my mom really in a cardboard box?” And we giggled.
  • We had lunch in a tree house. After the service, we all went to this wonderful restaurant that was built in the trees, somewhere in downtown Regina. And I loved it. But can’t remember what I ate. But I do know that we talked about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
  • Nick put together patio furniture for Lise and Jason.
  • I loved the dune buggies. Lise took me for a ride (while Nick was putting together the patio furniture). And it felt so calm and connecting to feel the prairie. I loved the breeze against my face, making my eyes water. And at one point I thought, “Huh. My mom is really dead.” And then I looked over and saw that a bird was flying along beside us. And it kept up with our pace. And I said out loud, “Hi Mom.” And then it veered off on its own direction.

And now I am back, making new memories.