72 years ago today, my mom was born.
168 days ago, she died.
I wish I was emotionally mature enough to have faced this with gratitude. To have given myself over to quiet appreciation. Counted my blessings and been thankful for the gift of her, for my being because of her, for the depths of wisdom and strength that I gained through her, for the humor and joy and grace, for the stream of love and concern and faith and belief that flowed from her like a river of gold. To have celebrated today this woman, my mother.
But I couldn't. Instead I was swallowed up by the hole that she left. By my grief and resentment and despair. I put the covers over my head and was mad today.
This morning, a dear friend was married. She was radiant. Her new husband was a riot. The whole wedding was beautiful.
I was furious.
This afternoon, my daughter played a brilliant game of soccer. She had grass in her hair and stains on her elbows, a bump on the head and a grin a mile wide on her face as she and her teammates devoured an entire box of popsicles.
I was livid.
She should be here. She should know all of this. That's all there is to it.
"January Wedding" played on the CD in my car. My anger morphed into something that literally seemed to pierce my insides.
"She keeps it simple
And I am thankful for her kind of lovin'
'Cause it's simple."
No it's not.
It's so damn complicated.
My eyes brimmed and the road blurred in front of me.
"She's talking to me with her voice
Down so low I barely hear her
But I know what she's saying
I understand because my heart and hers are the same."
I don't understand. Because my heart is broken. And hers is to blame.
"And I was sick with heartache..."
I had to stop myself from sobbing out loud.
My husband squeezed my hand, and I blinked several times and drove on. We pulled up to the curb and joined a group of old friends for dinner outside in their backyard. The food was delicious and the company was just right, but I was almost at the end of my rope.
Hey, look, someone said.
How did that happen?
We turned to see a shining rainbow filling the darkening summer sky.
"I hope that I don't sound too insane when I say
There is darkness all around us
I don't feel weak but I do need sometimes for her to protect me
And reconnect me
To the beauty that I'm missing..."
Maybe it is simple. Or maybe it will be, years from today.
Photo by Rock Lane
Lyrics from "January Wedding", a beautiful song that has nothing to to with mothers but everything to do with love, by The Avett Brothers.