In many ways, today is remarkably similar to this very day four years ago. This day back then, like now, was pretty typical of the Willamette Valley – cloudy, rainy, with interspersed moments where the sun breaks through the clouds, and we Eugeneans feel the promise of Spring. We feel the hope that the light brings with it.
Four years ago, my mom passed away. Her passing was peaceful. A harpist played music for her for an hour and we watched as her face relaxed, listening to the music. After the harpist left, my little sister and I began manicuring her nails. Within minutes, her breath slowed, and we each put down our instruments and held one of her hands. I whispered in her ear that I loved her, and that I would share with the world the light she brought into it, that I would remember her light. Just as she released her last breath, the sun shone through her window, and I felt the darkness in which she had lived so much of her life was finally lifted – that she was finally free. With everything I had just told her, about remembering her light, I knew with every fiber of my being that she was at peace.
After that moment of release, however, my own world was plunged into what felt could only be an interminable darkness. I had lost my mother – a piece of my soul, a piece of who I was. As many of you know, who have lost loved ones, I ached in a way I had never thought possible. I tried to smile, but I felt a gaping hole in my heart. I felt ashamed for all the things I did and didn’t caring for Mom before her death.
Today feels so similar to that day, except I feel that hope again. I feel the promise of Spring and better things. As I have relayed previously, in my blog Three Years and Some Change, I feel my mother is here with me. I don’t see her in the streets as much as I used to, as I wrote about in my previous blog. But I do feel her with me.
As my family gets ready to accept our second child, I feel closer to my mother than ever. When my two-year-old daughter told me: “I love you, too” the first time, or when she curls up next to me on the couch, I feel the joy I know my mom experienced. Whenever I begin to feel that pang of sorrow while thinking about Mom, I remember that joy. I remember the look Mom got on her face when she described how much she loved us. I remember how she told me that I wouldn’t understand the joy, sheer terror, and love that being a parent involved until I had a child of my own, and I know now she was right. Now, I feel her in my own hand. She’s there when I hold my daughter’s little hand as we cross the street, when I stroke my daughter’s hair (much like she stroked mine), when I put on my daughter’s little shoes and she leans on me for balance. I feel the same little tug of pride intermingled with sadness I am sure she felt whenever my daughter tells me confidently, “No, Mommy. I got it.”
I still feel my mother everywhere around me, but mostly, I feel her inside of me. I know she is still with me. Every day. And while she didn’t get to meet my daughter, or my soon-to-be born son, I know has already met them -because she is a part of me, and will always be a part of me.
So, Mom, I wanted to tell you again: I love you, and I will always remember your light. I am still working on sharing that light with the world, but I’m getting there.
Your loving daughter, now until the end of time,