Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Marigold Path Grid Blog: remembering mom

image designed by adam walker cleaveland

It is still so new
& all we see is
the empty space,
but that is not
how it is in the
landscape of the heart.
There, there is
no empty space
& he still laughs
& grapples with ideas
& plans
& nods wisely with each
of us in turn.
We are proud to
have known him.
We are proud to
have called him friend.

for bob who put this grid blog together, from Story People .

grief and remembering is something i must do intentionally lately. it's been 18 years since my mother, the real bobbie died. i was 21, she was 43. there is never a good time to loose a parent, but this time for me was very traumatic. she seems so very far from me now. like a distant friend living in a far away town who i haven't seen in a very long time.

i never thought i would say this in the middle of all of my grief, but it has gotten easier. it's not easy - but easier than i'd imagined it would be.

she was a bundle of contradictions, my mother. i think it was her sickness that made that real. i got stuck for quite some time in the anger stage of my grief. a lot of unresolved emotions that i had to untangle. what was god's and what was hers? it took me years of therapy to figure that out, heck, it took me years of therapy just to be able to admit it. i guess that's why it was such a drawn out stage of my grieving process.

she was so ugly to me before she died. they told me it was the medicine. the mass doses of prednisone and constant frustrations with her inability to care for herself. i think that by finally admitting how angry i was at her i was finally able to have her back again.

that's what i tell people now when they speak to me of their grief. that it's okay to feel any way you need to - even angry. it doesn't mean you don't love them any less. anger and love are both valid, deep emotions that can co-exist within a heart at the same time. and by admitting the anger i was able to deal with it and move it out of the way to make room for the good memories to show up again.

one of my mother's favorite things to do was to go out for breakfast. i don't know how many saturday mornings she would awaken my teen-age self and try to coax me out to go junkin' with her by first bribing me with breakfast. that's probably when i miss her most. in the simple things. like finding an amazing antique at a yard sale and knowing she would be right by my side if she could have been.

or raking and burning leaves together. how many times the smell of burning leaves brings her back to me. i can see her with her red bandanna on, flaming rake in hand, carrying the fire from one pile to the next in our old back yard. she loved to burn those piles of leaves.

i smile as i remember her sitting with a golf umbrella in the sunshine of the bleachers watching me play first base, while others stared, wondering if this woman thought that it was going to rain. she was allergic to the sun, her lupus made her so sensitive and the sun took so much energy from her. but she wouldn't miss a game if she could help it.

the clacking of the typewriter will forever remind me of her. sitting at her smith corona desperately trying to write something that someone would publish. it was her greatest dream. she would have LOVED blogging. hitting that 'publish' button would have fulfilled a great void in her life. she was never so sad as when the mailbox held the large envelopes with her manuscript, rejected, inside. i could never understand why she kept doing that to herself. i do now.

i wish she had written about her pain, her struggles, her journey through living with terminal illness, that would have been something that could have captured a publishers eye. there aren't even journals. just forced poetry and sad pre-teen, christian romance novels. she so desperately wanted to figure out what the magic combination was that would get her words read.

i know she would have loved recovery too. i think she longed for it her whole life. serenity, wholeness, healing. she died with so much unresolved. so many questions, resentments and bitterness. i wonder if it exacerbated her sickness? did that emotional baggage weigh her down and she bore the consequences of that in her body?

i know she would be proud of me today. thrilled at the level of healing and wholeness i have found. rejoicing with me in the choices i have made. i also know that i wouldn't be where i am today if she was still here. i think realizing that was one of the biggest helps to my grieving process. we had quite an unhealthy co-dependent relationship. i think i am stronger and healthier today because i don't regularly have to navigate a relationship with her. i hope that doesn't sound bitter. it's not meant to. i just know that she who installed 'my buttons' knew how to push them like no one else.

so today, i remember you bobbie. thank you for the life you gave me. thank you for your strengths and weaknesses. i have learned and continue to learn from them both. i miss you mom.

read other's stories here: Marigold Path Grid Blog


Amy A. said...

Thanks for telling another part of your story, bobbie.

Hope said...

From what you have written I smile at the thought of your mom blogging. Instant gratification really is possible in healthier ways than food etc. :) Blogging is proof of that!

*jcg said...

beautiful. thanks for sharing!

Kristin said...

Thanks for this, Bobbie. I love how real it all is. Makes me sigh a big sigh of relief that the hard stuff and the missing of a person can live side by side--one not being obligated to cancel the other out. The work you've done to get to this perspective is truly breathtaking. Thank you for gifting us with it.

Trudging said...

What a nice tribute to your Mom. By the way, you win my award for most prolific Blogger.

Sacred Art of Living said...

A beautiful story and very moving, I lost my mother three years ago and I often think of how she would react to the life I am crafting. I know she would be delighted. Thanks for your offering to this marigold path.

anj said...

a beautiful tribute. real and honest and honoring. thanks.

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Thanks for your post, Bobbie. You are both the real Bobbies. I'm doing Marigold Path, too, and picked up your link at Bob's site. You lost your mom so young; 69 now, but I was only 30 when my own mom died. It's a rare day I don't think of her still and I know you are the same.