this too shall pass

It’s a little hard to explain.  But here goes.

The tasks that are before me, the ones that take up so many “just a few minutes” in my day-to-day–the ones that are mine because she asked me if I would and I said yes–I do not regret having them to do.  I am honored that she asked and humbled by her choice.  And determined to do it right and make her proud.

So I do not begrudge the time it takes.  Or the energy.  Or the emotions.

I just get overwhelmed sometimes.  It’s a little bit here and a little more there.  Wait on this to happen, but I have to make that happen.

It seems like I might never have a conversation that doesn’t involve numbers or papers or decisions.  An irrational thought, but it feels that way nonetheless.

And then today…..in a conversation with a very wise and dear soul, I heard these words that give me hope.  I did hear them.  But it wasn’t until I was stirring the pot on the stove that I heard them replay in my mind, and they floated down to my heart and started soaking in.

“One day…..one day you will look back on all of this

and it will be behind you.” 

Oh, my aching heart!  Yes.  This.  Please.

And tonight, as supper was finishing itself up and I stood lost in thought, I saw that as a possibility for the first time ever.  There WILL be a time when I won’t be handling all of these details and bills and making all of these decisions.  It.  Will.  Come.  One day we might all get to sit and talk and remember and laugh together, without the decisions that need to be made rushing to the forefront, spoiling the stories that beg to be remembered and told just one more time.  We can remember without deciding.  Laugh without returning to the somber job of putting a life to rest.

After the sweet, quiet, wise words of this one who has guided me through so much of this journey, I heard another’s words, the words of the one who didn’t want to leave and leave all this to be done, but who had no choice.  I heard her wisdom too.  In words she said many times over the years.

“This too shall pass, Sugar Tag.”

Oh, Mama.  It’s okay that it hasn’t, but thank you, thank you for those words tonight.  And thank you for helping me really hear what the other one I love was saying today.  I’m hardheaded (yes, I’m admitting it) and I don’t always listen like I should.  But tonight, I hear you both.  And I give thanks for the hope that opened up and let a little light into my heart.

It gives me just enough strength to think about what comes next.  What I need to do to finish this up, so we can move on to the celebrating of your life.  Because that is what you deserve.  To be celebrated.  And loved. Always.

Love you both.  Thanks for everything.

A Walk, A Wave, and Whimsy

While I had the sewing machine out yesterday, working on my little cowboy’s handkerchiefs, I decided to try a quick project I saw on Pinterest. The pinner said she had a long-sleeved shirt that was too snug, so she split it down the front and center and made it into a lightweight spring/summer jacket. It looked really cute, and as she advertised it as no-sew, I thought I’d give it a try.  After all, I’ve been cutting with scissors since first grade, right?

I had a moss green shirt that was roomy and fairly cute that I got when shopping with the crew and a couple of friends at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago.  I decided to give it a try. Yesterday I pulled it out and decided to add some non-matchy ribbon for a bit of whimsy. (I just love that word–thank you Mr. Bob Goff!) It was a quick job and I was pleased with the result. Just right for throwing on when the breeze picks up or our Georgia spring decides to go into hiding once again.

As it was last night…..after several days of being housebound with my sick littles, I decided to go for an after supper walk. As I stepped out on the porch, I realized my “new” jacket would be just the right thing.

My whimsical jacket

My whimsical jacket

Success!  A Pinterest project I had completed and could use.

The weather was gorgeous, the walk was calming, and my mind wandered.  I was really pleased with the jacket, the weight was just right.  “And I like the length of these sleeves,” I thought.  “This is just the right length for Mama.  And this color–she would have loved this color.”  It was then that it hit me, Mama would have loved this jacket, and I would have given it to her.  Oh if only I could…..

The last three years, Mama was not able to shop as she once was able to.  Between staying with Daddy and taking care of my great Aunt and our cousin, she was very busy, and she left Daddy by himself or with someone else only for the most necessary of things.  I tried to help out by getting groceries some and keeping my eye out for a shirt or a pair of pants or the like that she was in need of.  She made a comment last year that she hadn’t been shopping for more than just a few groceries in a couple of years.

So it was that we talked her into a trip to the “GW Boutique.”  She was like a kid in a candy store.  It took something she was never fond of–clothes shopping for herself–and paired it with a passion of hers–getting a bargain.  She came away with some things she really loved.  She was abundantly joyful.  When she was with us at Christmas, she was tickled with the gifts we had upcycled for her and for each other from GW.  “You’ve done so well,” she said, almost in awe.  That was high praise indeed.  A treasured memory.

I’ve been told that there will be moments that the grief hits like a tidal wave.  Well, having lived it more than once, yes, I know that is true.  But knowing that something can happen does not fully prepare you for the actual happening.  I think the first time this reality hit was when I had to go to Target to get something for one of the littles.  It was one of my first ventures out after she died.   As I walked in I found myself in that mode of shopping with that extra eye–the eye of looking for something Mama could use or wear.  And it hit me…..I would have to de-program myself.

The next tidal wave hit when I went for my yearly appointment.  Ahem.  Never any fun, and as you do, I had to update my information.  And there, midway down the page, the words that made my hand freeze and my mind lock up for a good two minutes: “Emergency Contact.”  My Mama has been my emergency contact for as long as I could fill out that line on a form myself.  In school, in college, in grad school, at work, every doctor I’ve ever been to…..even when we moved to Japan, for they had to have information about where we would evacuate to, should the need arise.  I no longer had an emergency contact.  The sense of loss and being lost was overwhelming.

There has been one other time when the grief snuck up on me.  Aub had had her senior pictures done, and we were figuring out what shots to order.  As I sat down to place the order on our photographer’s website, once again I froze.   My mind had automatically gone to the “family count” of folks who get pictures…..and Mama and Daddy were always first on the list.  Truth?  I shut down the computer and haven’t placed the order yet.  (My apologies to our photographer–we do love you!  It’s not you, it’s me…..)

I guess you could say I handled this wave of grief on my walk a little better?  At least my feet kept moving.  I finished my walk watching the sun set behind the trees.  I tugged the jacket close and wondered how many more times over the years this loss of Mama, of Daddy, of so many others–how many more times will I be caught off guard?

Tonight I am thankful for my Mama, who taught me how to be thrifty and to love walks in the evenings.  I am thankful for my family and friends who are with me, who laugh and listen to my stories and are patient through my “situational” (I hope) attention and focus disorder.  I am happy to have tackled a Pinterest project and come out with a completed, usable project.  Most of all, I am thankful for my Mama who was full of whimsy and encouraged us to live a life full of whimsy ourselves.  Yeah, I think she would have loved that mismatched ribbon…..it’s just for fun after all.