The following blog post is about my own personal journey. Each of us travel the road of parental loss in very different ways. And none of them are to be measured or judged. No one way is right or better. It is a journey and anyone in my city can tell you - you can take the same journey 6 days in a row and its length and obstacles differ each day.
As the first Mother's Day approaches since my mothers passing, I am oddly not filled with loss as many would expect. I know this isn't normal. And as my husband would confirm I've not been normal for a very long time. But, I don't feel far from her. And my heart is so full for having had her. In essence my heart is just as overwhelmed on this Mother's Day eve as it was last year.
In my home I am surrounded by things that bring her to me. The piano that I now use as a tool to prepare my daughter for her first NYSSMA solo competition. Many Sunday afternoons were spent at that pianos side learning from her. The pictures of my family that hangs from the wall above that piano. Each and everyday I look into the faces of her brothers and sisters. The large very old old Tupperware measuring cup I use so often, I wonder how I ever did without it. Every Summer we would use that measuring cup to make her freezer jam. I wrap my hands around her knives as I slice into my morning bagel. One of them has a plastic melted plastic handle that I presume got that way on my account.
After my mothers passing select items of hers became mine. She would love the placement of one of her paintings in my bedroom. And every time I open my drawer of kitchen utensils that barely closes - ok sometimes it doesn't - I can hear her saying to me "Honey, I know you want to keep it all - but I wouldn't be offended if you got rid of my things - you make things so hard for yourself."
Oh and the voice of my mother. It is forever in my head. It's like she's my conscience - the reason I pause before I speak or speak too loudly - ok yell too loudly. I hear her reminding me that children don't see the world as we do - to measure their actions and words accordingly. She always encouraged my parenting. By encouraged I mean challenged. She would provoke me by asking questions that would many times bring things into focus for me. I assume her voice will be with me forever, as she often shared her mothers voice with me.
Then there are her grandchildren. Her granddaughter Katheryn, that wears grandmas necklace to school every day - except gym days. Or Anastasia who likes to remind me that I sound like my mother. They are amazing in that they love reminiscing about grandma. And when they do they smile and they don't even seem to approach sadness. They loved her dearly and realize how lucky they were to have had her.
Yes, there are times when I wish I could pick up the phone and call her. We always tussled over politics. So the news that Paul Ryan was not going to seek re-election or that yes I was right that Tillerson is now gone, or did you see that Comey interview.... We would have discussed all of this in length. But in a deeper reflection, I think she enjoyed the back and forth merely bc it gave her time on the phone with me. It really was of no deep consequence to her otherwise.
And yes, I would have loved for her to have known that I sang at Carnegie Hall recently. Or better yet, that I am four weeks into my Diet Coke elimination experiment. She hounded me over that for years. But, I reflect on these things and am just so satisfied to have had a mother that would push me forward towards a better me.
When she died I knew the best way I could honor was to continue living. I could hear her saying to me, "I died, you didn't." And when I reflect on how hard she worked to move to NYC, 21 days before she died - she was not going to let one minute pass where she wasn't persisting onward. She was so weak - yet so determined. And living honors her.
So tomorrow as the sun rises on Mother's Day - I will do what I do every Sunday. I'll get my family ready and out the door and head to church. Then we'll go out for a nice lunch. Maybe settle in to watch an old movie. Then I will start to get my tribe ready for the start of a new week. And that, will honor her.