This is hard for me to write. I’m a pretty private person – an introvert. But in blogging I’ve purposed to unveil life ‘above and beyond’ what we imagine. We envision the triumphs, and rightly so; but in real life, pain is not separated from joys nor loss from gain. Somehow, they intermix to form us into who we are and ultimately, hopefully – into the likeness of Christ. Philippians 3:8-10
Six years ago today, my mother died. The details are deeply personal and the memories stay fresh in our hearts. I hesitate to reduce my memories to words – or her life to a story. Words fall painfully short. I suppose that’s why C.S Lewis never published, A Grief Observed, himself. Life is infinite and words are finite. Like a pencil sketch of the sunset, they’re just a crude outline.
Please bear with me – as I ‘remember’.
Some say, ‘your life passes before you’ – when you die.
I think, ‘your life passes before you’ when your parent dies.
During Mom’s brief battle with lung cancer I wrote down just about everything that happened for the 6 months we had together. As with any terminal illness; there were decisions to be made, unexpected breakthroughs and sorrows. As these events transpired, I meticulously recorded them day by day – it was my therapy. I needed to rehearse the details. I saved cards and letters from friends and doctors, e-mail updates, newspaper clippings, funeral details – you name it. I’m not one to save every little thing – but hanging onto her memory in the smallest of ways – helped – so – much.
The funeral was 10 days before Christmas. I had only stopped long enough to decorate our house in hopes of providing some sense of normalcy for us all, but I had not purchased gifts. This experience cured me of the ‘hurried’ Christmas rush and the desire to drag out this beloved holiday for an entire month. All of the work was accomplished and Christmas came and went, surprisingly well. Embracing giving at Christmas helped fill the void of loss, at least for the time being.
Soon, January was here and ‘school’ started again. The calendar was moving faster than my desire to move on. As a mother, I needed to be all there for my family. So, I bought a keepsake box for my journals and items I’d saved. I added what she’d passed onto me when we went through her ‘stuff’ together; my baby bracelet, the watch she always wore when I was a child, the charm bracelet I bought her at Six Flags (she’d saved it!), the plate she ate on as a baby, notes from her mother, pictures our kids had made her, etc …
So, on this day every year – December 11 – I open the box and remember.