In the twinkling of an eye it’s been two years since my Mom passed away. It’s been fast and short all at the same time. the sense of freefalling — of having lost my mooring, my anchoring — has mostly ended. I feel like I’ve been righted somewhat and I’m able to carry on. Tougher, stronger, somewhat sadder. But surviving.
Earlier this week, Jude and I attended the funeral of his classmate’s mother who died of breast cancer. We had many conversations over the week about loss, Mom, grief, pain, tears — how he could potentially help his sad friend. Jude asked me how long it took me to get over losing my mom.
“You know, you never really get over it,” I told him. “I’ve just learned to live with what it’s like.” And while that’s true, the intense physical pain and agony of grief has indeed finally lessened. Life is different in a way that sharply divides who I was before I lost her, and now who I am on the other side. And I have stopped counting the number of days that it’s been since I last spoke to her.
Gratefully, I see a shimmer of joy as time marches on. Leaping into the unknown of a spontaneous and delight-filled trip to Paris with my sisters was perhaps the greatest gift of all in 2018, a year that was about finding peace and healing after the dumpster fire of 2017. I could feel Mom there with us, cheering us on, high-fiveing us for doing this crazy thing. Because who better understands the struggle, the delight, and the exhaustion that is motherhood than your own mom? And who else would cheer on three hardworking mothers to do something so incredible and so life-giving — life-affirming! — than a trip to that beautiful place?
And so in 2019, I see joy all around me. I feel refreshed and refueled and in a sweet spot of creativity. In a place where I thought I would no longer feel happiness again is now a patch of growth. Beauty from ashes. I’ve seen it again and again in my life, these beautiful places that God creates amidst devastation. So why do I doubt it will happen again? He is faithful; I’m the unfaithful questioner.
I’ve struggled to find my writing voice in the two years since she’s gone. I don’t know that I realized how fully I was perhaps writing to her? She was the one I talked to about everything. And so, with that loss, I find myself reassessing who it is that I’m mentally talking to now. Is it still her? I find that no, it’s not. It’s becoming someone else — it’s two small boys, I think. Sweet souls entrusted to my care.
As I sat in the funeral of Jude’s classmate’s mother, I realized that I want my voice to be what my boys hear in their hearts one day. I want them to hear my cheering, my confirmation, my concern, my laughter, my love, my delight — and that they one day will cherish all these posts I’ve written about our lives together. Because this — this is what truly matters. The rest is icing on the cake, is it not?