***The following is a memorial post written in participation of the Blogfest hosted by EC Writes. This is a true story***
I didn't really want to write this post. I suppose it's been a long time coming. There are moments in life that come, moments that seem to prune away a bit more immaturity to make way wisdom and peace in life. These are the times your soul grows. Like those marks my mom used to make on the back of the basement door, I suppose I can say I grew an inch today. By writing this memorial, I'm charting a moment to share that I grew up without a mom. She passed from colon cancer when I was all of nine, going on ten.
Just to be clear, this isn't something I haven't dealt with. Some hidden issue that's eating away at me. I've accepted her death almost immediately after it happened many, many years ago. Writing about it, however, is a whole other can of worms. I'm an introvert by nature. I work things out internally, make my peace and move on. Of course, it wasn't as easy as that. Momma died nearly thirty years ago. Time has been the beautiful, bow-wrapped gift that allows me to think of her and smile. I've internalized long enough. As a parent, I am compelled to offer clues to my children as to what crafted the soul of their mom. I don't want them to wonder, as I often do from time to time about my own mother.
Grief...I've decided, is an evolving animal, traveling backwards in time. Like magic, a roaring lion appears in front of you, and slowly dissipates, little by little into a cub...it still exists, never to go away. And I suppose my love for my mom, will always nurture and house that little cub.
I remember so well that day. That day that altered my "carefree-esque" spirit into an unfamiliar shape. Distrust and instability, would be the now familiar figurines to take it's place.
So strange, that day... It felt normal, but lonely. Even before I arrived by bus to be dropped off at home after school. I remember walking up to my house. Up the sidewalk. It was quiet in a invisible, yet palpable way. The birds were chirping. The wind was blowing, but I had the sense something was holding it's breath, waiting for me. Entering in the front porch, there was a literal quietness that just wasn't normal. As the youngest of six, there was ALWAYS some sort of activity going on. TV, radio, yelling...something. But even as as young, hearing-impaired girl, I knew the TV wasn't on.
Curious, I made my way into the living room, that's where he sat. I remember his posture so clearly...he looked so weighted, so defeated, my dad. Legs spread apart, elbows on knees and his fingers loosely laced. Suddenly, I forgot about the odd quietness and realized something different...He was waiting for me to arrive...that's when I KNEW.
I don't remember what he said exactly, only that he had something to tell me. Then moments later, I'm sobbing uncontrollably on my bed. On my belly, with my arms crossed, my face is completely hidden. There's a voice that comes from within. I'll NEVER forget it. More than a voice, it was an understanding...a confirmation, an comforting assurance that would carry me through those maddening painful days....You Will See Her Again.
And I believed. I wrapped that thought around me tight, like a warm fuzzy blankie. You see, my mom taught me all about Jesus and God. She had such a love for Him. She would read me Bible stories, even if she couldn't read very well. She never completed her education and she was hearing impaired. Although, you would never notice those things. She sewed like the wind and was a mastermind of the most awesome garden you'll ever find. She grew everything from tomatoes to a cherry and apple tree. She nurtured a grape vine, watermelon and strawberry patch. And when her garden bore fruit, she would make rhubarb pie that could bake itself.
I had her nine short years, but even then, I knew of her strength. Never one to back down in a Biblical debate, she argued with the best of them, as she dared them to try to distort the truth she held dearly. Indeed she was a saint, as she is now.
But I suppose, I would be vastly different if it weren't for her passing. Would I be the kind of woman, mother I am today? Truly, I doubt it. My passion, my love for parenting comes from that one moment in time when that lion almost consumed me. When I am too tired, or too annoyed, with life and all of it's details, I remember and celebrate the simple pleasure that I CAN give my children, what I missed growing up...a mother's love. It is the greatest feeling in the world...sometimes I believe, even better than if I've received it myself.
Thank you, momma for the strength you showed me, even though I didn't witness it for very long.