Finding a place to rest has been a struggle lately, oddly enough this search is both physical, and mental. I realize it would be excessively boring for everything in my life to remain the same, I mean exactly the same, including the ages of my children, status of not only my health but the health of everyone I know and love, and for the love of God could people stop moving around. You live here, not Heaven, not Australia, or Florida. Is that asking too much?
“Life is not stagnant, it flows, and sometimes it rages” Cheryl Oreglia
I find it difficult to describe intense emotions, the way they surge through the body, irrepressible, and at times excruciatingly painful. The aftermath of such an incident can leave you not only exhausted, but melancholy, and overwhelmed.
Walking (hobbling) out of work on Friday, the end of a long week, I’m exhausted, ready to rest my foot under a cool bag of ice, when a co-worker said “Happy Mother’s Day.”
I turn around my expression perplexed, “Oh my God I totally forgot (repressed) it’s Mother’s Day this weekend. How did that happen?”
She said softly, “my mother passed away two years ago, it’s different.”
“My mother is gone,” I meant it like a question, something I’m not ready to believe, and with that came the flood.
Standing in the middle of the office I can’t stop the tears from sliding down my face. It’s one of those moments you would prefer to have in the privacy of your own car but there is no avoiding this sudden onset of pain. It’s so unexpected I don’t quite know what to do but acknowledge my vulnerability as this wave of anguish passes through me.
My boss comes out of her office to thank me for finishing another complex day with AP’s (the truth is I’ve caused her more headaches than help this week) and I just lift my hands in submission, “I don’t know why this is hitting me so hard.”
She reaches out her hand and says, “do something nice for yourself this weekend.”
I cried all the way home.
“Mother was anchor. Mother was comfort. Mother was home. A girl who lost her mother was suddenly a tiny boat on an angry ocean. Some boats eventually floated ashore. And some boats, like me, seemed to float farther and farther from land” Ruta Sepetys
I remember last year knowing deep inside I wouldn’t have my mother for another Mother’s Day. I repressed the shit out of that thought and continued with the pressing issues at hand. Nancy and I were in a stand-off with death, as if a game of Red Rover, we dared the Abaddon to break through our clasped hands. And with everything we had we held.
“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother” Abraham Lincoln
Before she left she made sure we had everything we needed, “in all the years we had blundered along in search of our own footing (irony), she had never given us an inkling of this wish. Unburdened by the demands of history or anyone else’s dreams, we had wandered toward and finally reached a world far outside the plains we loved and loathed. Our mother had neither begrudged us this journey nor expected it, certain that we had to make our own way, but she packed our toolbox with her great wit and forbearance before we went, and she stashed there, for long safekeeping, her desire,” Gail Caldwell. My Mom’s desire was for me to live not only a good life but one of abundance and great joy.
Oh how I wish I hadn’t taken her for granted, assumed she would always be around, never considering the possibility of liife without my mother. I remember when I was in college, wrapped up in finals, totally self-focused, and I forgot to call her on Mother’s Day. I should have been arrested. My parents lived in the Northwest at the time, we had a long distance relationship, which creates a gap in your connection, but not your love.
I called the next day, my Dad answered the phone, I said, “Hi Dad, is mom around?”
“Yes, she’s right over there crying in the corner, let me see if she can talk.”
I hear my Mother scolding him in the background, “Richard, give me the phone.”
She says, “Hi honey, how’s it going?”
“Mom, I forgot to call you yesterday, the day got away from me, I’m sorry.”
“It doesn’t matter (although it did), I know you’re busy, tell me what’s going on.” Mom always put our feelings before her own, rarely sharing the things in this life that caused her pain, until the end.
One day, a few months into her illness, she said to me, “I need you.” It was the first time in my life that I ever heard her say this.
I said, “I’m here Mom, I’m here, you don’t have to worry.”
For Mother’s Day this year I’m doing something nice for myself. I’m having dinner with my family. It’s all I want. To be with them, to hold my grand-babies, to kiss my children, to bask in their presence. I don’t take our time for granted. I consider it a blessing to sit in the shadow of my children, watching their lives move in exciting directions, and I consider it miraculous that I get to witness these moments up close, in person.
If you still have your mother give her an extra big hug today, if your mother has relocated to Heaven I quote Susan Goudreau, “as you grapple with creating your new normal please know that your mother has left an indelible mark that never goes away. God blessed us with amazing women as role models. May we live up to that!” Indeed, cheers dear friends, and to all the Mothers out there ~ enjoy the day.
Mother is Water
I wish I could
Shower your head with flowers
And anoint your feet with my tears,
For I know I have caused you
So much heartache, frustration and despair –
Throughout my youthful years.
I wish I could give you
The remainder of my life
To add to yours,
Or simply erase
The lines on your face,
And mend all that has been torn.
For next to God,
You are the fire
That has given light
To the flame in each of my eyes.
You are the fountain
That nourished my growth,
And from your chalice –
Gave me life.
Without the wetness of your love,
The fragrance of your water,
Or the trickling sounds of
I shall always feel
I’m Living in the Gap, creating a new normal, join me?