I miss my momma, not just on Mother’s Day, but all of the other days of the year as well. I know that time is a great healer, especially when it comes to grief, but there have been moments in the twenty years since she left this earth when the longing for her wise words and gentle touch is so raw that I can feel it painfully pierce my heart. The awareness that I can’t simply pick up the phone and hear her voice often makes me feel like I have lost her all over again. These realizations have come with greater frequency since my diagnosis. The need seems greater now.
I think that when any of us are sick, really sick, we become rather child-like in our helplessness. And like a child, we want to be with the one who always soothed our aches, made everything better. We long for that loving maternal care. My momma was among the best at nurturing, a kind soul and a true champion. She was skilled in all things, clever and resourceful. Even as I grew into adulthood, I thought that there was nothing she couldn’t do, including healing me from any illness that might have invaded my body. And in fact, she had some kind of home remedy for everything, a poultice or concoction destined to take away the hurt. I wonder what she would have prescribed for me now in my current state.
But honestly, she was best at ministering to my soul, patiently explaining to me why people behaved the way they did or why disappointments wouldn’t last. I often hung a lip as she matter-of-factly used her pet phrase, “it wasn’t meant to be,” when I lost something (or someone) of perceived value. Yet conversely, that simple philosophy has helped me to accept that some things WERE destined and ordained..... meant to be...... and to understand that there is greater reason for all that happens in the universe. My momma taught me that I get to choose to make an experience a way to learn, a chance to grow in wisdom, which is always better than wallowing in self-pity. She often reminded me that if I can see some good in every adversity, every challenge, it has no power to hurt me. I try to remember that. Especially now.
I have come to understand that nobody ever really leaves us, even though they are absent in the physical sense. Their presence lingers in ways that are as much a part of us as the air we breathe. In the quiet times when the pain of my illness is there, she is close by, whispering softly. I can hear her voice, as gentle as the murmuring wind, reminding me that all is well. I see her face in the flowers that bloom and the way the light dances on the water. I am reminded of her when my friends make fun of my love of shoes, and when I say, “wow,” to punctuate that which both astounds and delights me. Most of all, when God taps me on the shoulder in the middle of the night to whisper some profound truth, I remember the foundation of my faith. As I sat on my mother’s lap as a toddler singing “Jesus loves me,” I began to understand what I know now to be true. She taught me how to stand on that rock, which now keeps me grounded in spite of the storms.
Indeed, I learned to see and appreciate all that is beautiful because the very first image my eyes were able to focus upon was my mother’s lovely face. And later, I came to appreciate her loving, generous heart. She was remarkable, an incomparable woman. Being her daughter has made me strong. And now, it gives me hope.