IMO: Looking for Mom

Mom would frown and shake her head. “Good, God, stop crying. I wasn’t a saint, you know.”

Grief is a heavy activity. Doing one’s best not to cry is hard to do. Talking about it is exhausting. The permanence of her departure is a rock that’s heavy to carry. Just when a few days go by when I am not overcome with emotion, I start to relax. Then, boom! Triggers abound, and I am weeping in the car before heading into the grocers, or I am about to enter a room full of people. On goes the smile and I am ready to explain the puffy eyes and red nose as the result of a bad attack of allergies.Β 

Last week before the students and staff arrived, I walked down the wide, dark hallway of the school searching for hot water for my cup of tea. Out of nowhere, Mom’s face appeared sharply in front of me. Was I hallucinating? I was back at her side, patting her hand while she breathed heavily. I looked at her and her eye opened and stared at me. It was freaky to see her staring eye. Did she know it was me? I talked to her anyway, hoping she could hear. “Jenny washed you, Mom. You’re clean. You won! You are here in your home and we love you. We’ll be okay.” And just like that, she faded away and her eye turned to stone. In the dark hallway, I burst into tears and rushed back to my classroom muttering, “It’s going to be one of those days.”

Well, of course, none of us are okay, but we’ll adapt. I take comfort in knowing she’s in a better place. I believe that.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m overwhelmed, I always want to run away from home. So Jim and I did. I know God’s in nature as well as the church, and the colors and smells of nature is a place I go to connect and regroup. At Vallecito Lake, I saw Mom in what she loved about nature.Β 

The 15th was her birthday. I was glad to share the fall day with Mom surrounded by the beauty of Colorado. My gift to her was not crying. I felt lighter. I didn’t feel pain. She would have approved.

46 Comments on “IMO: Looking for Mom

  1. I am sure your mother love the nature photos you honored her with, Cindy. For some reason the dog on the road really seems to suggest the lose you feel.

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  2. “It’s always the odd unpredictable things that set us off,~ Grief lies inside us like a landmine, heavy footsteps will pass by it safely, while others, even those as light as air will cause it to explode.” Can’t remember where I read that, but it strikes true for me. Glad you had some respite away in beautiful Colorado.

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  3. By coincidence, I was thinking about my mum a lot today, before I came across your ppost tonight. She died in March, 2012. I have never stopped missing her. Your trip away was good for you. Do it again perhaps, next time you feel like that. But you will carry her with you of course, because that’s how it should be. It’s what makes us human.
    Best wishes as always, Pete. x

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  4. I totally understand. When I lost my mom, that first year was the hardest. One day I’d be fine and the next day something would trigger the tears… might be something as simple as seeing her favorite flower. Time will ease the pain.
    Seems like you enjoyed the perfect little getaway.

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  5. Both my parents were kind and supportive to their children even when our dumb actions put us into trouble. Our relationships in the family were very close as a result of their kindness modeling as we grew up. So I do like to go back over their photos regularly to remember the lifestyle they modeled and refresh my determination to do the same to my children and those around me. I’m sad they are not with us now but am confident of meeting them in a better land someday. A good cry is an excellent way to deal with grief. Its one of natures pressure release valves needed for maintaining health.

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    • Thank you Ian, for your perspective. Most of the time we aren’t aware of the power we have as a positive role model in someone’s life. Time judges not the day but the lifelong efforts. The trials and the gains vacillate. The key is to stay positive, love the child within, do not consider the critics, be real. Someone will be glad you did. Probably more than one or two. Maybe a handful. That is a proper legacy.
      That’s what my Mom and your parents exhibited–without their knowing about it.

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  6. Please take care of yourself and thank you for sharing this. I sincerely hope this helps you, your family, and friends cope with the world. I will keep you and yours close, Cindy.

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  7. I think that gradually things will get better, but you shouldn’t have negative feelings about your grief. It’s perfectly natural to mourn the loss of a loved one.

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    • Conditioning…no sympathy. Keep a stiff upper lip. Control one’s feelings, etc. She came from a tough, self-reliant generation. Her opinions were embedded. It’s something I have to grapple with. “Is this Mom thinking, or me?” πŸ˜‰

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  8. What a heartfelt read. My wife had emotional bouts just as you described following the loss of her mother. But I love the refuge you have found. You truly do see God in nature, don’t you?

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  9. Beautiful expression of emotions and lovely pictures…it takes time to overcome the loss of someone close and moms are always special..
    Stay blessed πŸ™

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  10. I find it difficult to comment on such a personal post. It’s very moving and uplifting at the same time. I really admire your fortitude, I’m sure your Mum does too.

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  11. Dearest step-mommy,

    My love for you has grown in reading this post.

    How sad, but hopeful are your words. Thank you for sharing your heart so transparently. I’m glad you could get away with my Dad in this time. The changing autumn leaves seemed to be the perfect stage to breathe and process your grief.

    In my own experience, I have found comfort in knowing my mother isn’t missing a thing. Rather, she can see even more from eternity than if she were earthbound. I hope that brings light to your heart as well.

    Sending all my love.

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    • Sweet Anna, I’m so fortunate you are my daughter and sad I’m missing out on your life, your family, Ben–distance, whether by a continent or through death–we always miss the ones we love. I take comfort knowing you are healthy and happy. I hope you are well and thank you for your thoughts. Your Dad is a tonic for me. β™₯

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I β™₯ comments.

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