This memory from one year ago today was on my Facebook page this morning:
“Grief is so strange. Last night at the viewing, I held my mom’s hand and didn’t ever want to let go. If I held it long enough would become warm again? I touched her hair, and felt the softness of it, and I wanted to keep that tactile sense of her presence, her life, her humor, and her loving spirit.
It is the last time I will see her on this earth.
And yet, I am so grateful she passed quickly, without suffering. In a recent conversation with my mom, she had cried while telling me she could no longer hear the music of Chopin, which she knew by heart and had played on the piano for much of her life. I know she’s where she’s supposed to be, and that she is whole and free to hear amazing music in Heaven.
And so, there is peace.
And humor – reading funny stories that she wrote with her college friends, and journals of a trip to Mexico City in her oldest brother’s car in 1946 to see their sister. Her passing is too soon, and yet, if I trust God, it’s right on time. And so, I grieve and laugh and find my peace in who God is and that He loves without measure. I am grateful for everyone’s prayers and words of consolation.”
This past week my grief has surfaced again, fresh and raw. I close my eyes and feel again the softness of her fabulous white hair, see the beautiful blue and silver outfit my sister-in-law, Amy and I chose for her to wear in her coffin. I remember saying out loud to Amy – make sure we bring a bra. We wanted Mom to look her best – no side slippage for her! Humor and sadness, tears and smiles.
Everything from those days seems so fresh, as if it were today or yesterday that we sorted through her things, found her favorite hair clip and comfy shoes. My heart aches. I miss her so. The tall, narrow dresser where she kept her jewelry now sits in my room. Her pearls are in there, her brooch and her rings. Sometimes, when I open the top drawer, I catch the scent of her perfume – Chanel #5. And I lean in and remember.
I know that I am tired. I have been given an opportunity to slow down and I want to make the most of it. I know that spring is coming to my heart as I take time to walk this path. I love that my mom loved me. Even in death she continues to share her love for me through my memories and the means to take this sabbatical year. I know it will take awhile for the edges to soften around her death and all that I felt I missed out on by living so far away from her.
For today I say, “Peace – be still.” It is enough to mark this day and to remember all the love that surrounded my brothers, sister in law and me on that last day of seeing Mom.