It is dark and gloomy in Birmingham today, one of those days that can take your mood to dark places along with the impending storms. We are having a gathering for the Fourth tomorrow, so- as we Gaineys do- we’ve been bustling around working to get things “perfect” for the party. Even though we’ll likely have rain tomorrow, we’re staying positive and hopeful- we know we can make it work no matter what, and the huge fireworks show that starts at 9pm just above our home at Vulcan Park will cap the evening off nicely.
I have been feeling a bit down lately, not really looking forward to a party. I kept wondering what was going on, as I am usually a pretty chipper person. At first, I attributed it to anxiety about my Madrid trip getting closer- I leave two weeks from today…but this morning I think I found the real reason. We made the obligatory run to Costco to stock up on things for the cookout, and stayed to have a quick lunch before heading home. As we ate, I happened to look up and felt a jolt…a very elderly woman with silver hair was slowly walking in our direction, hunched over her walker. At first glance, it was the spitting image of Heavy D. And then I knew. Some difficult first anniversaries are coming up, and I guess somewhere in my mind I have been processing it all. Mom had her last bad fall on July 15th…exactly one month to the day later, she died. August 15th, also my brother’s birthday.
My grief counselor told me that my emotions would ramp up as the anniversary approaches, that it was completely normal for grief to return, raw and painful- even years after the death of a loved one. She was right; when I saw the woman with her walker, the tears came out of nowhere, and on the way home, I began to feel like I was having a panic attack. I keep seeing flashes of our last hours together, feeling the sadness and helplessness of that difficult time. I will never miss seeing my mother frightened and in pain….but I miss my sweet, goofy mom, my very first best friend. I guess that will never go away…and that’s okay.
Every single one of us has gone through or will go through losing people and animals that we love, and some of those losses affect us more deeply than others. I have lost many loved ones, but Mom’s death shook my foundation. I have moved forward, worked through my feelings. I sought councelling, wrote it all out, surrounded myself with good and loving people, threw myself into work….but nothing can stop grief from taking the path it will take. Death is irrevocably bound to life.
So today I will let myself be a little blue, let my mind wander a bit to last summer. I won’t stay there long, though, as that summer was a small portion of the fifty-one years I had with my mom. We went through so much together- a team through good times and not-so-good times. Even though my heart aches today, I smile when I think of Heavy D- the many sacrifices she made for me, her kindness, her generosity, her quick sense of humor, and her adorable giggle. Our relationship had its challenges at times, but our love never wavered one bit. Up until the very end, we were there for each other. Even a hurting heart can fill with gratitude…and mine is overflowing.