This week marked the 2-year anniversary of losing my mom (August 12, 2015). Although many things have changed these past two years, one thing has stayed the same - I miss my mom but I love her so incredibly much.
Losing a family member, a parent especially, changes your world. You may experience the feeling or thought that you want to show or tell that person something, only to get a lump in your throat when reality hits you. You may experience dreams or nightmares that you are in the presence of that person or talking to them, but they disappear or they are just out of reach. You'll want to keep everything the two of you have in common together because of the fear you'll never remember without those things. There will be something you affix their being to or that you attribute to that person. I've done all of these things, and all of them are just as hard to deal with two years later as they were as they happened the first.
The thing I attribute with mom are butterflies. At the townhouse where we lived, we had a small garden backyard. In the spring of 2015, we had planted butterfly plants and dill to attract some caterpillars and butterflies. We finally saw some caterpillars munching on the dill and I'll never forget her running in the house to tell me to come see. Then the caterpillars were gone and mom was just flabbergasted that she couldn't find where they cocooned. We finally saw the cycle come full circle when a female black tiger swallowtail butterfly was in the garden. She was so excited.
It's hard going through her things or things from the house without memories being connected to each and every one of them. I kept her robe because it reminded me of her cozy hugs. I let it go. I took a picture of it and let it go to someone who needed it more than I did. True enough, stuff is stuff, but most of my stuff reminds me of something important to me.
I find myself spending time thinking about those past memories of time spent, but at times I find myself thinking too much in the future. Mother of the bride, mother in law, grandmother.
Life moves way too fast. Find those moments that you remember feeling happiest of closest with that person and they will help you freeze-frame time. Remembering those moments will fill you with longing as well as gratefulness for all the time you had with them.
I miss my mom terribly and I think of her daily. But I know I need to celebrate her and cherish my memories with her rather than mourn over her or bemoan my circumstances. I have a lot of women who serve as wonderful motherly figures to me, I have family and friends that would come to me at the drop of a hat if I asked. I have many, many people who care about me and love me. What more could I ask for?
On my bedside table I keep this frame that used to sit at mom's bedside. Inside is a quote from St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622).
Toward the end of mom's life, she told me how her once steadfast faith had morphed into anger at God for what had happened within the past five or six years. She was resisting instead of running to God, and I'm convinced He wrapped her in His arms and took her to be with Him because her strength to bear it was no longer enough and her faith to believe He'd deliver her from it had faded.
All things said, I refuse to fear the changes of life. All things change and nothing stays the same, we can't step in the same river twice. I had found such comfort in running away to mom's, when really it was tearing me apart. I had given myself the role of caretaker and keeper of her life, which was unrealistic and too much for a mere 16, 17, 18 year old to bear. It had become my normal and when the change came of not having to worry about mom or feeling like I needed to take care of mom, I didn't know how I'd take that change. Luckily, I had all those people around me to love me through it.
This next week, I'll be a part of my sorority's recruitment at TCU for the 62nd year of its existence. So much has changed for Tri Delt within the past two years of our chapter's lifetime, and I only wish mom were here to see it. The chapter house that once stood and housed five of my relatives and I is gone, and a gorgeous new building rose from its dust. There has been a lot of adjustment this past week to help make our new house a home, and I can't help but feel so proud that this is our new home and that Lynn Drury Allen's Tri Delta legacy is a part of it. Mom's favorite verse, and Tri Delta's unofficial one, is 2 Corinthians 13:13 which reads, "Faith, hope and love, these three. But the greatest of these is love." Mom taught me to love unconditionally no matter the circumstance, and I know what an impact her love had on her peers because this house stands tall and steadfast.
My favorite verse is Matthew 6:34 which reads, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." I will not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow I know I'll remember the love I have for my mom and the love she had for me as I sing songs of love and friendship with my chapter.
These patterns of reminders about love, strength, change and not worrying follow me. If we didn't have change, the world would have no butterflies.