I’ve been blessed and honored to have known three Moms in my life…the one who bore me, the one who raised me, and the one who became a very best friend to me. Throughout my Journey, I have also been delighted and fortunate to have had several “adopted Moms” as well. You all know who you are, and I thank you so very much for bringing your love and light into my world. I am who I am because of all these amazing, strong women in my life. Every one of them has influenced me in my ups and downs, joys and trials, successes and disappointments. I love each and every one of you!
Tomorrow is an especially difficult day for me, as tonight is the eve of the anniversary of my Mom Marilyn’s death. It’s been a year since she passed away, and though I had always believed in living each day as if it were my last, never had it impacted me more than a year ago today.
The last time I saw Mom and Dad together was when they came over to give me more “stuff”. A comforter set, a lamp and a [computer] monitor. It was a joke between Mom and I that she would be pawning off all of this stuff on me: “You need this, don’t you, dear?”…”and this is nice, right sweetie?”…”C'mon, this is so ‘you’…”…”and you need this, and this, and…”
I knew what she was doing. One day she had a spread of all kinds of kitchen utensils and dishes all out on her kitchen counter. With that slight mischievous smile, she looked me straight in the eye and said: “Okay. These are all yours! Aren’t you so glad?” LOL So when Mom and Dad came over, I knew was in no position of negotiation. I accepted the comforter, lamp and monitor, no questions asked.
The thing that will be forever ingrained in my memory will be the two of them in their warm, cozy winter jackets, walking hand in hand down my front porch steps towards their home, into the chilly dusk of evening. They were always hand in hand, and I thought as I peeked at them through a crack in my front door, as they walked away: “That is truly what Love is supposed to be like.”
I miss my random “girl talks” with her. I miss coming home from work at lunch or at the end of the day, watching her in the garden in the midst of dirt, buckets and flowers, looking up and smiling at me. I miss her listening ear and gentle voice as she would impart her wisdom and opinions to me with a grace and respect that so profoundly defined her. Always listening; never judging. Always asking me how I was doing, how my day was. Simple conversations, which always led into deeper ones. There was always a take-away in a conversation with Mom Marilyn.
On this anniversary, I feel like it’s some sort of “Mother’s Day”. I think of not only Marilyn, but I think of Mom Thelma, Mom Christine, and all of my surrogate mothers who have influenced my life and have given me so much of their own selves so that I can continue living on with their love, strength and wisdom that guides me on my own Journey.
The night that Mom was whisked away in an ambulance, I went through all of the stages of grief. Shock, denial, anger (I had a screaming fit in my car until my throat was sore)...and eventually acceptance. I was numb for a looooong time; sometimes I would forget to eat or hydrate. That’s when my EMS family came in and, quite literally, saved me from the edge of deep despair. Another example of how family is what you make it, and that those who love and care for you are really, truly there for you.
Even still today, I have a hard time believing this all happened. But in my acceptance phase, I came to realize that some of God’s best angels are, well…just pushed to the front of the line.
The photo is of a plant that Mom gave to me a few years ago. It was just a single cutting from one her own plants she had grown. I cherish this plant, and so many of the things (yes, even the kitchen utensils, LOL)...that remind me of her. This plant is sitting on my Aunt Betty Case’s display case (another woman of great influence in my life). It reminds me that Life goes on, and that we need to nurture the good, rid ourselves of the bad, but most of all…
Walk down a path, in the dusk of evening, hand in hand.