Hard to believe 30 days have passed since my mother entered the gates of heaven. So much has transpired since October 27th. My sister, daughter, and I cleaned out her small one-bedroom apartment; special things were shared with special people. Hand-written recipe cards are now treasures. An out-of-date drivers license and a “world’s best grandma” button now adorn an adult grandson’s mirror as truck jewelry! An old, stained eyeglass holder now houses a pair of sunglasses. Candlesticks will grace a different table this holiday season. A simple nativity set will proclaim “Immanuel” in an out-of-town window. Mom’s journals, photo albums, and scribbles are neatly packed in Rubbermaid bins for a snowy, winter weekend for just two sisters to reminisce, laugh, cry after a time of healing has past.
A joy-filled Memorial Celebration took place this past weekend – two and one-half hours of remembering our Mother, grandma, sister, aunt, and friend. Tears were shed, songs were sung, secrets told, laughs laughed – it was glorious and she herself would have loved every minute. An entire church filled with family members, neighbors, friends and acquaintances, I have not heard one grumble of, “I didn’t think it would ever end!”
These thirty days have been one of the most difficult journeys I have ever traveled.
- waking up “mother-less” for the first time
- reaching for the phone to call her
- turning up her road to visit
- grocery shopping and thinking to call and ask, “You need anything, Ma?”
- seeing her handwriting everywhere
- smelling Cover Girl makeup and thinking she is near
- wearing her denim shirt – too big for me but “just because”
- finding her pretty gray wig (which she never wore) and putting it on my head
- thinking I need to go over and change her front door wreath and garden flag
- pearl white nail polish – her signature color
- wanting a mug of her ‘too strong’ coffee and a cookie
I asked my cousin this morning, “When do you stop counting?” Her reply was exactly as I thought, “NEVER!”
I am sure many reading these words have already walked this path and know exactly what I am feeling – for those of you who still have their Mom, my advice to you is to enjoy them. Even when they are overbearing, opinionated, set in their ways and stubborn as all get-out; because when she is gone you will have a hole in your world the size of a freight train.
Another cousin profoundly stated, “We are the elders now.”
I take her place.
Much grace is needed.