Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
Psalm 63:3

Friday, October 9, 2009

Almost two months...

I loved my momma. I miss her.

I don't want to canonize her just because I ache. We didn't have the "best friend" relationship some mothers and daughters have. We spoke a few times a week and saw each other at least once a week when we were in the same town. We loved to run errands together or just sit and visit.

I am so thankful that she was able to come visit us in Houston while she was still well.

The finality of her leaving still shocks me every day.

She drove me nuts, endearingly so. She was flighty and fluttery...asking a question and then not really listening to the answer. When the first babe came along, her inability to focus became worse as he split our attention. As much as she wanted to be a grandma, it was not exactly natural to her. She could never quite sink into the role and really relax. But she was a great Mimi, just her style.

Momma never claimed to be a domestic goddess, but she made delicious chili.  I've tried to duplicate it hundreds of times. And oatmeal cookies...she always put them in our Easter baskets with fresh strawberries. For my fourth birthday, she made me a Big Bird cake.

She was a collector and a consumer...she had like 37 vacuums, each with a different purpose and the expectation that it would surely do a better job cleaning than its predecessor. We teased her.

Apples, lighthouses, frogs, teacups, etc. still adorn the house. So different from me...I don't collect. Objects that don't serve a necessary purpose, don't stay in my house long. I'm a bit brutal, really.

Mom had an infinitely generous spirit, bringing "just because" gifts to us often in these years with babes. Maybe too often. After an afternoon of running errands in our neck of the woods, she'd stop by in the late afternoon. It was a great time for me to sit and talk, especially when the kids still napped. We'd quietly catch up on our weeks over the warmed-up morning coffee, waiting for little faces to peek down the staircase. I miss that.

Many people don't know: she held our family up financially as Dad's business attempts failed. We had no money until she returned to work when I was in 6th grade. She never undermined Dad, though, to Nat or me. I know now that it was frustrating to her to watch her husband work so hard, but never be able support us financially. I've thought often, would I be as gracious?

Friends and family have told me several times over the years how they felt my mom's unconditional love. She lived it out. I must have taken it for granted most of my life. Because they remarked about it, I became much more aware of it. After my mistakes aplenty, she was sad but never condemning. I never felt the slip-sliding away of affection or pride.

She didn't manipulate me or my brother to her preferred outcome, but waited for us to ask for her help. She loved us well, consistently, never keeping accounts. After a mistake was consequenced or untangled, she forgot it. Her love was sure.

And she loved my friends and my Sweet Man the same way. Unconditionally.

I want to be that kind of momma.

This thing called grief has so many surprises up its sleeve. It blindsides me still, almost every day. It's not a sadness of what she went through or where she is now, because that all worked to the best. It's mostly grieving for my dad's lost love and for the life I thought she'd live with my kids.

I like to be prepared for every possible situation, but don't know how to navigate or anticipate these emotions. I just carry a hankie with me everywhere, now.

When an older female friend gives me a hug, my eyes begin to leak. What's that about?

The morning she died, my dad, brother, husband, and I had just left her side and were leaving the hospital. We rode down the elevator and I looked around at the men in my life and thought, "This is my family now. We'll never be the same." I've been riding elevators often lately, living on the 5th floor of a hotel. That moment floods back almost every time I'm in one.

I was working on digital scrapbook pages the other night and soon couldn't see the computer screen through my wet eyes. Looking at pictures of her, remembering how she loved my babes and showed visitors those scrapbooks with pride, brought it all out again. I didn't get much finished.

In the moments of just waking up or just falling asleep, when the events of the day are not in focus and my mind is not guarded, I see her in her last hours. Just snapshots, not videotapes like I did immediately after she died. I thank God He has stopped the videotapes.

She wasn't scared, but I was so helpless to her and desperate to say and do everything I could. But I don't want to remember her last hours when she still with us but was slipping under and all I could was watch. There were moments, I couldn't even do that.

There is so much I don't want to forget.

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