Sunday, December 20, 2009

Love is eternal

Today is the one year anniversary of my mother's death. One year. And like absolutely everything else about her passing, it's nothing like I expected.

A year ago, holding her while she died, I feared she'd slip away from me somehow in my memory. That I'd struggle to hold her clearly in my mind. To remember how she felt, looked, talked with any clarity. It made me sad to think she might get blurry and foggy for me.

And now it's been a year. And the colors and smells and sensation of being with her, sitting on the couch just talking, are still there just as much. She's not going anywhere. And that is such a relief.

I also feared Jack would lose her. Andrew and Simone, I'd have to teach them about who Mom was. Andrew talks about her, knows about her, and quite possibly even remembers her in the hospital. But he won't remember who she was.

Jack, though, was 4.5 when she died and has a vivid memory. He talks about reading with her and riding on her wheelchair. We were talking about her last week...doing a U-turn in a gas station and she came up in conversation...and he mentioned the tube in her throat at the hospital. We hadn't talked about that, so it must be pulled from his own mental image. I'm grateful for that. For all the memories. And that he still draws pictures for her and hangs them on the wall for her soul to see them.

I'm grateful for how much she experienced her grandbabies...that she met all of them. And that Jack was born looking so much like her it's uncanny. I love that.

I'd been wondering for weeks how to commemorate her today. I felt that way at her birthday too. How do I celebrate who she was...not just grieving the end of her life? What she brought to me...to our family...to our life.

So we declared the whole weekend a stress-free weekend. We cleaned the house from top to bottom yesterday. Washed and folded all the laundry. Changed the sheets on the bed. Did all the grocery shopping, errands, and I tried to get ahead on my work so that I had almost none to do this weekend.

I wanted to just focus on our family unit this weekend. Find joy in each other. The weather cooperated by being miserably rainy, so it only made sense to burrow into our home and be together.

We had the most incredible day. It really did feel like there was something special going on. The boys were unbelievable. Played without incident the entire day, watching movies together and just hanging out. Steve and I had long stretches of quiet alone time, watching Dexter and talking on the couch, while the kids played independently.

We talked about my mom, and Steve said something I want to remember. That he had a lot of warmth towards my mom for bringing me to him. That who she was....all the positives and any shortcomings...shaped the person I was, who became the partner he needed. She would have loved that. She adored Steve and the match he was for me. How he treats me and cares about me. And knowing that he credits her with her role in creating who I am would have given her a lot of joy.

I view life and death completely differently in losing my mom. Before losing her, I saw death as just a big hole. A loss that couldn't be filled. That finality scared me. But I see it differently now. I see how our life and love and connections fill that void before it's even created. That we're gathering the spirit of our loved ones throughout our lives together, and that part never really goes away.

When I die, who I was to my children will still be there. The things I did, said, taught them. How I viewed the world. Whether they adopt them or rebel against them, they will still shape who they are and what they bring to the world. That part of our lives is eternal.

Beyond the spiritual aspect of soul, I do believe that's what our soul does. Leaves its imprint through the connections we make to those who are important to us. And believing that, I can miss my mom without feeling like she's lost forever.

1 comment:

H F W said...

I'm so glad you had time to remember her this weekend and realize that she'll not fade from your memory.
Lifting you up in prayer during an emotional time. I'm so glad love is, indeed, eternal.