It’s the fourth Mother’s Day without mom.
I’m still not myself.
My daughter and I planted some flowers in a small garden right outside the screened in porch looking over the back yard. They are so lovely and I enjoy watching them bloom and grow stronger. But, the one I’m keeping an eye on is a small daisy my daughter bought in memory of mom. She loved daisies and it touched my heart so deeply when my girl brought one home last summer. She has tended to it faithfully since.
Just a small reminder of what once was.
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the emotional stages of grieving. I secretly wonder sometimes if I’m being overly dramatic or full of self-pity. I mean, it seems after all these days, months and years even I should feel “healed.” I look around and everything seems back to normal. Holidays come and go, the sun rises and falls and seasons have the audacity to continue their cycle. All while I make the familiar drive out to the cemetery and talk to a rock shaped like a cross. I know she’s not there, but, I still make the drive and stand stoically, the grass covering her grave bending beneath my feet, and tell her of my need for her to come back.
I don’t really know the stages of grief. I suppose I should look them up to see where I fit into the collective steps mapped out by those smarter than me. But, one thing I do know, I’m angry; angry at the cycle of life and how it gives and then takes. That doesn’t sound very spiritual, but it’s honest. These days, more than ever, I believe the good Lord values my honesty more than my best attempt at faking it.
I don’t talk about these feelings to many, I worry others are tired of hearing about it. How many times can you tell someone your story before they quit listening? People are kind, but grow weary of hearing about loss with all of its stages and pain. It’s Mother’s Day, after all, time for corsages, tea parties, hats, lace and ribbons. The perfect day to let the person who birthed you into life know how much you love and appreciate her.
I think about all of this as I curl up on a lawn chair and stare through the screen at my small garden.
In the midst of my pretend normalcy commercials come on TV reminding me of all I’ve lost; happy children making homemade cards, young adults declaring their appreciation and the older mom hugging her aging mother, thanking her for a lifetime of love. Good old Hallmark, they’ll make you cry in spite of yourself. For me, there will be no reason to step into the beautiful and shiny pink card section with the sign, “Don’t forget to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day” proudly written in fancy cursive font. I quickly push my cart past that section in Target while fighting back tears. I allow myself a glance as I walk by the aisle. I see women, young and old, reading the poetic declarations of love donned with beautiful flowers and happy faces folded in half and shoved neatly into envelopes to be given to their mom.
They’re the lucky ones.
Life can change in an instant and one day, like me, you’ll be left pushing your cart quickly past the shiny card section feeling envious of those lucky souls who have their mom alive and well on this day of appreciation.
I noticed a couple of days ago our little daisy is getting bigger, I water it each night hopeful for a big bloom later this summer.
Day after day, I watch and wait.
My nephew and niece graduated college last weekend, and we celebrated. Well, not ALL of us. There will always be a vacancy, one missing. In two weeks another nephew will get married and, again, we’ll rejoice. But, even in our grandest celebrations, grief is a mist that hangs in the air. I want to save a seat and just pretend she’s coming, maybe just running late. But instead, I drive out and stand by her cross shaped rock and tell her all she’s missing.
Grief is such a mysterious thing. One day I send praises to heaven to have ever known her. The next I curse death and cry angry, desperate tears. Is it possible I can feel all of these things and still remain sane? Loss is a giant kaleidoscope of emotion that ultimately leaves me exhausted.
I saw a short video recently on social media that helped me understand my emotions a little better.
It was once believed a person would completely heal from grief. As though it never happened. In recent studies, that theory has been proven untrue. In this video the author started by drawing a circle that represented your life. Now, imagine drawing a curvy line back and forth through your circle of life so it touches each side of the sphere multiple times. Your whole life up to the point of loss is touched by the curvy line of painful grief. It is then believed instead of the curvy line fading and eventually going away completely, as was previously thought, it only slightly fades but never disappears. Life continues and larger circles begin to surround your original circle. These larger rings are said to be your life continuing. Years pass, people come and go, events and milestones take place that have not been directly touched by your original curvy line of grief. It definitely effects the new rings of life, but less and less as the years roll by. By the end of the clip there is a much larger circle engulfing the smaller original one. It is in the space between the first and last circle so much life has happened.
This short clip reminded me I have so much for which to be thankful.
The ceiling fan on the porch hums as I daydream.
Life was good when mom was alive, but, I remind myself life in the outer rings is good too. I have kids that will celebrate my motherhood this weekend. I am blessed. In my daydream I laugh and hold my kids close while my mother smiles on us; kind of like one of those Hallmark commercials.
You know, life just isn’t fair.
But, if I’m going to take the good from God, I must learn to accept the hard and painful. I must learn to trust his judgement even when I rail against it in my soul. HE KNOWS WHAT’S BEST. And I don’t. He sees the beginning and the end, and I am so limited in my small world view. So even if I’m mad, I will still bow my knees and accept what he gives. Even in my temper tantrum, I will still obey. Even when I feel the pain of loss, I will sing songs of thankfulness.
I will focus on the outer rings of my life and remember the good.
And, I will wait expectantly for our daisy to bloom.
“As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” Isaiah 66:13