Missing Loved Ones
I can still see her red nails and her aged hands with her crooked index finger laid over mine. I miss her tooth that curved out and always caught her bright lipstick. I miss laying my head in her lap and allowing her to comfort me and play with my hair. I miss hugging her with one firm fake breast and one soft one. Grief is funny the way it accumulates until it overflows in tears and longing. It’s been seven and a half months and while I have my mom, I miss the physical mom I loved so much.
She asks me to sit with her, to talk to her, and listen to her. I meet her in the quiet between our worlds; she’s there, waiting, longing for me as I am for her. In this space we are one, there is no body to hold, but her energy wraps around me like the flutter of a hummingbird’s wings, and I am safe and calm. I no longer cry every time I sit with her energy, but sometimes, tears of joy from being known by another soul so deeply, overflow onto my cheeks.
I close my eyes and say, “come to me, sit with me, be with me.” She does. In the silence there is peace. She is wiser, more understanding, and has so much depth. I am grateful for this type of soul-deepening bond. Being one with another soul, blending with them, being known fully, being accepted and loved is a gift to be cherished. I know this and do cherish every second, and yet, I still long for her. I miss her laugh. I miss laughing with her. I miss calling her and sharing the funny things my girls do. She would call and say, “Tell me something funny they said or did,"
and we would laugh until our sides ached. I know she still laughs, and I try to imagine the sound…but it isn’t quite the same.
Do you ever really “get-over” losing your mom? Losing your person? I don’t think it is something to get over. I am changed for the better because of it (even though it feels like physical pain in my shoulder and chest). I hear her reminder in the form of a song, “lay down your burdens, lay down your fears.” I don’t know any more of the song, but she sings it in my mind to comfort me. She reminds me that I am not alone, that I am strong and that the spirit realm will handle what I am struggling with, and so I do. I lay down my thoughts that are swirling, my heartache that is heavy, and my fear that I will never stop longing for one more hug. She props me up every time though, and I somehow I feel happy and move forward. I have learned to live one day at a time. It’s too overwhelming to think of a whole life without calling her, so I don’t. Today, I can chat with her in the quiet. Tomorrow, I can talk to her on my drive to work. Wednesday she can help me make applesauce, and on I go.
No one is ever really gone. We can’t hug them, feel their arms around us or their fingers in our hair, but they are there. Love is eternal. Our bond changes but can continue in a new way if we let it. My grief blocked me from seeing her and feeling her for about a month, and then, she was there. She is always there, just a thought away. In a way, it is so much better. In another way, it is so painful. I try to think of the better part, but my human self still wants to hear her sing 'Happy Birthday’ and eat carrot cake she baked me. This is my first birthday without her. Her voice was so weak last year when she sang to me. I remember knowing in my heart that it would be her last time to sing. I’ve been sung to for 43 years, on my birthday, and now there won’t be a call at 7:30 a.m. I am happy to say I let her go to voicemail along with my dad so I could record their duet a few years ago. Sometimes, I listen even when it isn’t my birthday.
I’ll miss having a cup of cocoa and a cinnamon roll like she baked on Christmas morning. I bake the rolls now, and this Christmas, I will be up around 5:30 a.m. rolling them out with her by my side. I am learning to include her in my daily life, remembering she is there, making memories that honor her and learning to laugh again without her.
As we approach November 1, All Saints Day, a day to honor our passed loved ones, I am struck with nostalgic feelings about my grandparents and mom. I have been thinking of them even more frequently and making it a point to do little things that honor their lives. I bought sarsaparilla this weekend to enjoy with my girls like Grandpa used to do with me. I picked apples to make applesauce like Grandma T and Mom used to make – chunky with brown sugar and cinnamon in it. No recipe exists so I am teaching my girls by sight just like I learned from mom. I bought Paydays to eat with my girls as we laughed about my Mom’s obsession with them during her last few months on earth.
You may hear people talk about the veil being thin this month as we approach October 31. That simply means that the space that separates us from our loved ones in heaven is lessening for this period of time. It is a really great time to reach out to your loved ones if you haven’t in a while. They want to be remembered, to let you know they are there and that they love you so much. I always say it’s like having my own cheerleading squad on the other side. I would encourage you to talk to them, ask them to be near you, honor them with a token of remembrance. Perhaps it’s a family tradition, or a treat they loved, but choose a way that you can remember them and their love. They are still there, watching you, loving you and wanting the very best for you. Spend a moment in the quiet to connect with them and feel their love. Imagine it wrapping around you like a cozy blanket and breathe in gratitude for their love. I hope that it lifts any sorrow that is heavy on your heart and bolsters you to continue living a full life. Remember, they want us to live and remember them. We can have both our memories and our future. Both are good, both are needed.
If you are feeling alone in your grief, know that you are not. While grief is a lonely emotion and no one quite knows what to say, know that your loved one knows how you’re feeling. They know you miss them and love them and they want to be with you. So, remember, feel all the feels and keep on keeping on, but know you are never alone.
Happy All Saints Day.