The events of a year ago are flooding back in as if they’ve been out to sea for a while and have decided to return for a visit. I remember very vividly hanging up the phone with Mom and being profoundly affected by the change in her voice. The effects of her last radiation treatment had left her with slurred speech and this hit me like a ton of bricks. It was the beginning of a loss so great it shatters one’s soul. I remember crying at the thought of never again hearing the sound of my mother as I’d known it all of my life. It devastated me and fueled me into an all out search for anything that had Mama’s voice on it. I can remember replaying messages in hopes of rediscovering it. One night, as I sat idle in my car under a blanket of foggy night sky, I called my brother and confessed my concern of never hearing my sweet Mama’s voice again and how selfish I felt for even wishing to. I knew I should be focused on comforting and supporting her as opposed to fulfilling my own self-centered wishes. I couldn’t help it though. Just once I longed to hear the sound of her unaltered tone.
Somewhere in all the sadness and longing, I realized what the alternative would be and soon embraced a new hope that all would be okay and her eloquent dialogue would return. My aunt reassured me that there was a good chance that the effects would lessen as time marched on. The exhilaration of knowing this was almost too much to contain. I called Mama at various times in the day to listen to the differences. It was evident that morning was always a bit better and as fatigue set in; the evenings were more of a strain. One morning in particular she was very clear and glimpses of her former quick witted tongue were evident. I look back on that phone conversation in particular and realize it was just a few days later that I boarded the plane to return to her. We are approaching that day now. I know this is why I am faced with sleepless nights and an increasingly aching heart.
It’s always in hindsight that you realize you should embraced each moment as they come; because now, I wish I could hear anything associated with her, her laughter, her tears, her humor, and yes, even her slurred speech. I would welcome any sound from her and hold tight to it with every ounce of my being knowing full well how precious each utterance is.
The most amazing thing is, right now in this very instance………I can hear my wind chimes ringing…..and you better believe I’m going to embrace it wholeheartedly!
I’ve become accustomed to listening to relaxing “white noise” music during the night when I can’t sleep to try and alleviate restless nights. Yesterday morning, I awoke to the sound of rain and a rushing stream. It was one of the most relaxing mornings I’ve ever had. I laid in bed wishing that it would become reality. I longed for the soft patter of real rain and the peaceful calm that it seems to blanket the whole world with when it comes.
Eventually, I had to succumb to reality and rise and prepare for the day. Expecting a hot day, I was pleasantly surprised by how cool and breezy it was. It was lovely and I realized that however much I had wanted my day to go one way, the alternative had been equally pleasant.
Once home, as I took some time to unwound, I glanced out into the soft glow of the lowering sun. A serene smile spread across my face as I realized the softest of rain falling from the sky. The kind of gentle rain that doesn’t even make a sound, but still stops you in awe. The beauty of it was inspiring and had me lifting my gaze to the heavens as a sign of “thanks” to Mom. She seems to be answering my wishes with the sweetest subtlety these days.
I have to admit, I have the best friends ever!! They always know how to lift up my spirits and make me smile. Most of the time, a good cup of tea, coffee, or champagne with idle chit chat and a little relaxation time is all we really need to rejuvenate our energy levels. I like to refer to them as my “just breath” moments.
Some of the time though, I’m lucky enough to be given the best little Happy Day Treats. As an Easter gift, one of my sweet friends gave me this beautiful bird feeder, mentioning that it reminded her of me. I have to admit, she’s was pretty spot on. I even believe this bird feeder was specifically meant to find its way to me.
Now I’ve never owned a bird feeder before and this particular friend has never been to my parents’ house or been made privy to the fact that my mom loved bird feeders and had several of them placed throughout the absolutely gorgeous garden at their home.
So again I ask you….just coincidence? By now, I think you know my answer to that.
There are certain days in our lives that conjure up a multitude of emotions, such as holidays, birthdays, the death of a loved one, and other monumental moments in our individual journeys. For each person, they are different. The magnitude of how strongly they affect us is equally varied.
Memories of Mama and our holiday celebrations make me very nostalgic. Therefore, with the onset of Easter Day weekend, I knew the need to ease a little bit of the pain was essential. It was, in fact, the opportune moment to send up a few “floating prayers.” I was not the only one in need of a bit of support these days, so I asked my sweet friends to come along for the ride. Remarkable enough, the stresses, losses, and uncertainties have been prevalent in all of our lives lately. There remains one thing that is certain through all of this, the love, laughter, and unwavering support of our chosen family is a blessing beyond belief.
So yesterday, just as the sun was beginning to say farewell, we took a leisurely stroll by the lake. We must have been a sight, each of us holding tight to a thin, curly ribbon linked to a bright purple balloon adorned with personal prayers for our families and friends, good health and an abundant of well wishes for those who have passed. A day that predictably could have been lonely and fraught with tears was replaced with acknowledged grief, renewed wishes, and laughter among friends.
We used standard balloons and Sharpie acrylic paint pens in white and silver to write our prayers.
I have to admit, there are times when I truly love just sitting in my home on a Saturday evening and enjoying the simple pleasures and luxuries that are so often overlooked during my hectic life. In my youth, if you had asked me if I would ever have said that, the answer would have been a resounding, “No!!” I was determined not to be a homebody that wasted away my evenings and weekends doing “nothing.” I see it so differently now. I understand the beauty in leisurely preparing dinner and then enjoying it with no time constraints. A lazy evening sipping tea and reading a good book is just as good as a celebratory night out on the town. It’s all in how you look at it.
As years progress, I’ve started to realize the value of serenity and meditation; whether that practice is described as the actual theory of, or some other recognized notion like listening to good music, sipping the perfect glass of wine, humming on a silent walk, or watching the stars twinkle. These are the fragments in time I feel most connected to Mom. At that moment when there are no distractions to keep the memories from showering down upon me, I feel a sense of calm wash over me. I miss her every day and realize the value in these peaceful moments. I’m free to cry openly or laugh out loud with no other eyes upon me and although it appears that I am alone….in my heart I feel she is there with me during these ups and downs, helping me through this journey every step of the way.