Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Mother Knows Best

It's been a quiet time for me here on my blog, but oh! my mind has been a whirlwind of thoughts, lessons learned, ponderings and reflections! Many times I have seriously thought of posting, only to find myself confused as to how to scribe my mental thoughts. When the next day comes, and my thoughts are no less organized, I feel frustration, hope for tomorrow and then the cycle continues.

So, for lack of anything profound to picture or post about, I will put my thoughts to 'paper'... apparently they will not quiet down until I do this....


I recently took a day off from work to spend the day remembering my mother on the day of her passing. I had these grand plans of sitting at her grave, remembering, crying, missing and delving into the grief and pain and the thoughts that I have not been able to feel for 5 years due to other circumstances. I had mentally planned for the way it was to be played out.

But little did I know, so had my mother....

I did go visit her grave....and remember....and cry....and grieve. But I also listened to a total stranger, Paula, who literally walked up to me in my private grief ... and tell me that she felt compelled to come over and give me a hug because I looked like I needed one. She was there with her elderly, frail mother, Wanda. Paula's father had passed away in August and her mother suffered a heart attack a week later. Paula proceeded to speak of her fears of losing both parents 'together', of being an only child, of her abusive husband of 35 years (a Vietnam Vet, as my father was), of her stomach problems (!), of her seizures, the tests she's having to undergo and on and on. At a pause in the conversation, I offered her a red rose from the bouquet I had brought to my mother's (and grandfather and grandmother's grave as well) grave. She thanked me and then pressed a small leaflet from the Seventh-Day Adventists into my hand. Her frail mother was paying her respects at her husband's grave this whole time and had grown tired, so she had gotten back into the van. Paula realized it was time to go, so she bade me good-bye and good-day, hugged me again...and I watched her as she walked over and laid the rose down on her father's grave site and then got back into her van and drove away.

I sat for a while....wondering about this encounter. This is the second such strange one I have had while 'visiting mom'. I tried to be back into my grieving state.... "Where was I?".... but I just couldn't do it....the moment seemed to be gone. After a few minutes, I packed up the unused flowers, my purse and as I walked back to my car, I passed by Wanda's father's grave...the one she had laid the rose down on.

It was no where to be found.

The spot I had watched her bend over and lay the red rose down on.... well...

There was no plaque...and there was no rose. Nothing.


I met up with my ya-ya, Norm, for lunch. We had such a nice time...she is a beauty of love, grace..... She says things to me at times that settle like sparks...but I seem to let the slowly burning-out embers rest in place...and I revisit her words more than she realizes. She treated me to a wonderful time with plans to meet again in the evening for a dinner with our other ya-ya, R. It was time for me to move on. I had a date with another good friend who was in need.


I spent the afternoon with my good friend. We made lists, phone calls, plans and I was happy to be in his company. We accomplished much and I was at ease the whole time. We sat on the patio of a coffee shop in the glorious soft breeze across from a dialysis center, one similar to the one my mother had to go to three times a week during her final month and which factored into her death. Watching the patients come and go, I reflected on the irony of my position that afternoon. What my plans had been...and what they were playing out to be.


That evening, my ya-ya's and I met up for a patio dinner. I brought a picture of my mother. Dear R brought pictures of her baby daughter and mother; they, too, had passed on (that anniversary being the next day). We women had lost our 'girls', but we were celebrating their lives together so that we could laugh, cry and support each other during these fragile days. The evening dinner was wonderful and a very dear memory was made that night.


But, wait. This day. It had not gone as I had planned. Not nearly at all.

Why? WHY???


Because my mom had other plans for me. I learned a lesson that my mom was determined to teach me that day, much to my chagrin and petulance. You see, my mother was a selfless woman with a strong, fun, spirit. She was not a 'boo-hoo' woman....I rarely, rarely saw her cry. She often told me 'how the cow ate the cabbage' and more than once offered her loving advice to get 'up and blow the stink off of you.' She never sought attention and was practical about the important things in life. Skip the drama. Face the facts. Move on. Make the best of it. Keep your head up. Never give up. Persevere.

My mother would never, ever have wanted a big deal made of her passing. Yes, I could grieve. And cry. And miss her. But to spend a day 'boo-hoo'ing about her being gone would have ruffled her feathers. I now know that my mother's wish was something along the lines of "Okay...sit at my grave and cry for 15 minutes if you want to and miss me and remember me and bring flowers.... if you must. But that's long enough. Sitting here crying about me is not doing you any good, me any good, nor anyone else. There are things that need to be done today. Don't waste your time here. Go. Go do something good!"

And so I did.

Instead of indulging my self-pity and sorrow, I, hopefully, helped others in this delicate balance of life, find their way through the day. I hope I offered Wanda and Paula, be whatever they were, comfort, kindness and a small token of love, if but for a brief moment. I hope that afternoon I was able to bring comfort to my dear friend. I hope that what we accomplished during those few hours made a difference, and hopefully, brought some peace to his heart. And that night, as I wept sweet tears holding my mom's picture in my hand and sharing a happy thought of her with my ya-ya's.... I hope with my heart that I was able to bring love, comfort and support to my ya-ya, R... who's loss is greater...and who handles it all with such grace and diginity. I hope I was able to help all of these people that day.... for God knows... they helped me.

I do believe, truly, that my day was spent doing exactly what I was suppose to do.

Mother knew best.


Nonnie said...

tears for me as i've lost my mom your thoughts and love the song and words.....thanks for sharing, vb...and you certainly touched me.

Chickenbells said...

It's infuriating that mother's always know best. I've often wondered if I became a mother would I just all of a sudden know as much as my mother? It doesn't seem possible. Does all that knowledge come in a kit...can I buy it at Amazon and will I get free shipping with that? Well...I suppose the older I get the farther I get away from answering the knowledge question.

Bid hugs to you as you remember your amazing mother.

Cheela said...

I do think your mom was assisting you that day. I, for one, am grateful!! Our moms are never very far away, I like to think.

Just Joni said...

this is such a moving post...truly it touched my heart to think about how our mothers really do know best and how they are with us always...they are the encouraging words that play over in our mind and they are a big part of how we see things in the world...I'm glad your day ended with so much love and support.

Nonnie said...

thank you vb....for your sweet thoughts! and your support! it does make it easier knowing there are those who are keeping me in thought and prayer! :)

Anonymous said...

what a beautiful post, it truly inspired me to be more open to the opportunities and learnings from each day Your blog is wonderful and so wonderfully written. P.S. so glad you tunes are up. I listen to them in the office, great choices

all the best