As is so often the case. I am late to the party.
Yesterday, after all, was Mother’s Day and I am just getting around to writing about it today. That’s a problem I have, that I am often slow in getting out emotions and thoughts. Particularly when those emotions are powerful.
I get overwhelmed by them. That’s the simple truth. Oh, I can function on that day to day basis. I am told I did a pretty decent sermon yesterday morning. I fixed a mean pot of cajun sausage soup for dinner. I did a few hours work. I function fine.
But I don’t seem to be able to write about, or sometimes talk about, emotions on demand. I used to fret over it. Nowadays, I just accept it.
Yesterday, I had a slew of emotions going on. I am finding, for instance, that I miss my mom more as time goes on. Others had told me that is the way it works, but it didn’t make sense to me. Time heals all wounds, right?
Well, yes and no. The grief, that wrenching flood of emotions that come with the loss of a parent, is indeed much better. Time has worked its magic there. But as life goes on, I find myself missing her presence more. I think that missing is stronger than ever this week.
I am getting married Saturday. 5 days from now.
It’s my second marriage. My first ended in pain and depression, and it took me a long time to bounce back emotionally. Oddly, it was during that time of recovery that Mom and I became closest.
“You were always so self-contained”. That’s what my mom told me once when I asked her why she let Dad treat me as he did (not well). “You just seemed to handle everything with an odd kind of ease.”
I supposed I might have seemed that way. I am a wicked introvert. There haven’t been many people that I felt safe (emotionally) with. It’s work for me to be sociable, and even more work to really open myself up and share the stuff deep down inside. And I never did that with my own mom until I was in my fifties, divorced and depressed.
Opening ourselves up seems to give other people permission to open up, and it was during that same decade of my fifties that my mom opened up to me. I learned more, good and bad, about my mom as a person than I had in the fifty years before. We shared pain. We shared hope. We shared journeys. We laughed. We talked about books and faith and struggle.
I am getting married Saturday. 5 days from now. Did I mention that?
Mom wanted us kids happy. She wanted us to have someone in our lives that we could be truely close to, someone we felt emotionally safe with, someone who brought us joy simply by their presence in our lives.
I came to understand that part of the reason she wanted that for us is that for many years, she had that in her life, and it was a wonderful, sublime thing for her. As life beat up on my father, he closed down, and she felt that loss acutely. That loss was part of the last conversation she and I had, a mere week before her unexpected death.
I can remember when my sister Susan got married. My mom was beyond happy. Susan did not marry until her forties, and when she and her husband married, my mom rejoiced in her finding that joy. In that same conversation, she told me that she wanted that for me.
Maybe that is why this Mother’s day has hit me hard. We remember our last conversations with people. Those conversations seem to imprint themselves in our minds deeply.
Mom would like the woman I love, I believe. I think she would like her a lot. And she would have loved that I have found someone that I feel safe with, that I can open up to, and who I can love so completely and unabashedly.
And so that was the mix of emotions yesterday. Remembering my mom. Missing her. Excitement about the wedding and prospect of spending my life with someone I find wonderful. Sadness that Mom will not get to share in that joy. A potent mix that left me, yesterday, unable to write about it. Unable to join in the tsunami of others writing and sharing pictures of their moms.
I’d like to think she’ll be there in spirit. Not for myself. She’ll always be with me. But for her. I’d like her to feel that joy that parents feel when things are going well for their children one more time.
I’ve come to know that emotion with my own kids. It’s powerful. It’s unlike anything else. And I know how strong that ran in her heart.
Be well. Travel wisely,