I remember in the days and weeks after my mother died being acutely aware of every marker of time of her passing…She’s been gone three days…She’s been gone a month now…I couldn’t imagine how the heart wrenching pain would ever subside, how I would truly be able to breathe again without feeling that part of my heart had been ripped from my chest. Just how does one move on from a loss such as that?
Heavy D, tater tot connoisseur extraordinaire…
Today is now the fourth Mother’s Day since Mom left us, four Mother’s Days of growing through loss and pain and moving to a place of understanding and gratitude. The hole in my heart is still there, but I have learned to live around it mostly, coming to the realization that my mom is still with me and always will be. Some days are still difficult, though, and I guess Mother’s Day will always be one of those times.
I stay so busy in my life, often of my own making. I rush here and there, adding commitment upon commitment, thriving on the zany pace. Mom used to say I ran around like my hair was on fire…my therapist asked me what I was running from. When I finally stop to think about what both of them said, maybe I stay so busy so that I don’t have time to remember the pain of loss.
Yesterday we went to our friend Wayne’s to a gathering commemorating the first anniversary of the passing of his long-time partner and soulmate, John- also my mother’s best friend. Being in the beautiful and bustling house filled with people and memories, I felt myself begin to shut down, to go back to that early Friday morning when Wayne found that John had passed away in his sleep. I remembered trying to be the strong one, helping to make decisions and taking care of the realities of death because sweet Wayne just couldn’t. My mother passed away on a Friday morning, too, and for some reason that correlation came to me for the first time. Why does the day matter? But somehow it did.
Wayne asked me to play for the gathering, but as I began the piece I had the strangest sensation of feeling separated from all emotion, numb. I was an automaton moving my fingers as people watched. I finished and heard the applause, I smiled, acting my normal self, activity swirling around me as time seemed to start back up again. I told Dan I needed to leave, said my goodbyes, kissed Wayne, and headed for the safety of home, breaking down as we unlocked our door.
Dan says that each loss we experience brings ripples of all the pain from the losses that have come before. It is all connected- we are all connected. In the end loss is a teacher, because it makes us realize just how fortunate we were to have such a gift of love in our lives.
I see life as a wonderful patchwork quilt, brilliant and bright fabrics sewed next to dark patches and tattered edges, the whole of the quilt so beautiful, wrapping us in perspective, comfort, and – if we are just open to it- so much love.
Happy Mother’s Day to you all.