Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reflecting on a year

At about this hour of the morning last year on October 13, I received a call from my brother telling me that our mother had died not too long after midnight. I knew when the phone rang what it was going to be about. I had just woken up from a dream in the wee hours of the morning – probably at the very moment she passed out of her physical body – that she had died, and I knew that it had been a true dream.

So today I mark the first year of my mother’s death. My friend Judy called me yesterday and told me to think about “happy times.” Not a problem. I don’t have any bad times with my mom to remember.

Children who have grown up together in a family don’t always get along when they are adults. When they marry and their spouses join the clan, things can get a little unpleasant sometimes.

I used to be friends with a woman who had married into a large family of about 8 children, mostly boys, all of whom had large families. When they gathered for the weekly Sunday dinner at the matriarch’s house, quarrels between the adult sons would often break out and on more than one occasion turn into fist fights.

One thing I have the fondest memories of were the family gatherings with mom and dad. One thing I admired so much about my mom was that she was determined that her family was going to be kind and considerate of one another and that there was not going to be any fighting and bickering around her, or behind her back either, if she had anything to say about it.

We’re not a havin’ that in our family

she would say to my sister at the first hint of trouble brewing, and she would nip it in the bud.

We respected her enough to honor that request. And when we got together for a family celebration, that is exactly what we were going to do: Celebrate! And we did.

Everyone worked hard to make sure that the irritations, upsets, and flares of temper never got out of hand.

Another thing that I remember and admire about her was her gift for encouraging people. I used to stash the cards and notes she sent me in between the books on my bookshelves for lack of a better place to put them, and on more than one occasion during the past year I have come across one of these precious notes while on a search for a book. So I have had little reminders of her warm, sweet sprit all year long.

Grief can be a minefield for some people. The pivotal moment for many of the hoarders we have been watching on TV struggling to clean up their houses was inability to deal with the grief after a loved one had died – usually a parent – and they began accumulating stuff to fill the void. I know other people who have been plunged into a black depression that they can’t seem to climb out of.

Thanks be to God that neither of those things happened to me.

I am doing well. I miss her. I miss her a lot. I realize now that I am always going to miss her, and that I am never going to “be over it.” But it doesn’t hurt so much any more.  

This is also the birthday of my blog. I can hardly believe I began writing this blog 6 years ago today. How fast the time flies by.

I started it as a hobby. I mostly intended it to be journal for me to sort things out in my own head and to share our life here with my extended family, all of whom are very far away. Writing is very hard for me and it takes much more time than I really want to spend. On more than one occasion, I have just about stopped in frustration at not being able to say what I want to say in the way I think I should say it…. And I go back sometimes and look at earlier posts and cringe. But I am glad I have plowed ahead with it. Being able to look at the past through what I have written here has helped to keep me from forgetting things I need to help me keep my perspective. And in the memory department the “old gray mare ain’t what she to be.”


The Weaver of Grass said...

At my poetry group this afternoon I read a poem by Brian Patten called 'So many different lengths of time'. If you can find it on the internet, do read it - it is such a wonderful poem about dying and how people live on through memories, love, favourite tunes,
dreams. A lovely tribute to your mother.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I can't get on to your next post to comment LL as their doesn't seem to be the link - but i am so pleased that you found comfort in the poem I suggested. Several people at our poetry group are widows and they found it so comforting. He is such a good poet.

Donna said...

I would never guess that writing is hard for you. You do a great job.

Mary said...

I appreciated your thoughts about your mom. My heart is with you, and I identify. I appreciate your writing too.