The First Day

IMG_0112The first day, without my mother in the world, was last Friday.  I think my mother’s passing may make me a kinder, more loving person.  She was that way.  She didn’t just like a person, she tried to understand them.  And in that, she found the gray areas between  behavior, heart, and the soul:  they don’t always add up, and good people can do things that baffle the mind.  To cut to the heart, my mom would ask the question “why?”.  She would question aloud with an “I wonder….”.  She tried to look deeper than the surface, into the creation underneath.  And with those words every concept, supposition, and black-and-white answer, would get thrown out the window — knowing people were more complex than a singular action, and the answer may never be known.

She was our best friend, our confidant, our supporter, our cheering section, and our kick-in-the-butt when needed.  And it’s almost like, now that her spirit is free, she is filling us with her essence.  I can hear her saying “c’mon, c’mon now — let’s go, let’s go”.  She was hooked up to oxygen and an  IV and still insisting she had things to do, places to go — something productive, something worthy, something joyful.

And she found joy in many things — cooking, and perfecting her sauce; a “dunk” in the lake or pool on a hot day, or just taking notice of nature around her; and being with family.  She was a shy person, a woman of many talents, but held back by the times she was borne into — she wanted to be a nurse, but was discouraged at a young age; she loved to paint but set it aside to raise children.   Nevertheless, she shone.  And she was always willing to make a home for the stray animals my sister found, or feed a lost soul, or give advice to whomever needed and asked for it.

She was kind in her honesty, something I never mastered.  She didn’t care about anyone’s color, or choice of life companion — she taught us from a young age that it was their soul and spirit that mattered.  And she could see deep into a person’s heart.

Our mom was smart, a force to be reckoned with when something mattered, and loving.   I feel her essence filling me with memories of who she was… who she still is.  My mom is the best part of who I am, might be, and still hope to become and I’m blessed to see her, everyday, in my daughters.

 

Saying Goodbye

This does not seem like it’s going to be a very encouraging story, on the surface. There is grieving for a mom who, physically, is still here, but yet she is gone. This has been different than our dad’s story-end — we were blessed to have 2 years to say goodbye. That didn’t make it better, just different.
There is only one place that brings light to this right now: thankfulness for a life with these two parents who were characters in their own right; an odd juxtaposition of out-going fun and self-captive anxiety, howls of laughter and battles with depression, a fierce attendance to responsibility and a throw-it-all-to-the-wind philosophy, acceptance of the unique and strange parts of life and humanity, while still adhering to a set of morals and rules. Sounds like confusion. At times it was, but mostly it was wonderful. There were times of learning together and figuring it out. Leaning on one another. Sometimes this could be a pain, but mostly it was a loving-bond foundation being built that would out-last the years. There were lovely times. There were complete downfalls. There was survival and thriving.
But, what now? The landscape is changing. We see the “next generation” emerging, taking their place, and there is hope that some of the bits and pieces were passed on to them. In the meantime we will find a way to say goodbye to the family we once were.