Dead Mom Talking - a Rachel Matlow documentary
"If you want to talk to me when I'm dead, go to the bench".
Elaine Mitchell said those words to her daughter Rachel, a few days before she died last July.
The memorial bench now sits in Toronto's Cedarvale Ravine, beside a gravel path, under tall trees. It's what Elaine wanted. A place where people she knew could come and sit, and talk to her after she was gone.
Elaine was a teacher, writer and avid traveller. When she found out that she didn't have long to live, her daughter Rachel moved in to take care of her. A final adventure (of sorts) that they would go on together.
During the last seven weeks of Elaine's life, they binge-watched TV…. traded dark humour….and, even as Elaine's voice began to fade, they talked. About life, loss, and how to cope in the aftermath.
Rachel recorded the conversations. That way, many months after her mother's death, Rachel was able to make something remarkable happen. Get in one more conversation with the person she needed most to help her through the grief.