Sunday, May 16, 2010

It was Enough

How do you celebrate Mother's Day without your Mother? Especially when she has only been gone for a short time, and you can't remember why you didn't realize that last year (when you only bothered to call and send a card) would be her last? Yes, it's only a Hallmark holiday, but my feelings of being orphaned are looming large. My daughters would be my salvation. They burst into my home with all their youthful energy, yummy food, cards and gifts. Andrea, the youngest reminds us of the reunion Mom is most certainly having with her mother after more than 50 years, and I weep at the thought. They present me with a beautiful Pandora bracelet that will be created over time with charms of love, experience, and remembrance.

But something shifted on Mother's Day. Two truths permeated my sadness. The first was this: My mother is never coming back. My head has known this for some time, but my heart finally surrendered to that reality. It sounds absurd, I know, but grief is awful and strange, exhausting and lonely and yes... absurd.

The second is this: My Mother loved me enough. She loved me with all she had until the end. As the oldest, I not only had her the longest; I was the first beneficiary of her hopes and dreams as a new mother, and later, she became my friend. But she wasn't just trying to love me through my mistakes, my misadventures, or even my triumphs. She was trying to love me enough to outlast her; to fill my heart with the love and strength I would need to live the rest of my life without her. Despite her childhood, the ghosts of poverty, anger, sadness, and years of quiet decline, she gave her whole heart to the cause..

It's up to me to pass on that spirit to my Joni Rose, Alecia, and Andrea; the kind that will outlast me, sustain them when it is my turn to say goodbye. I know now that I won't live forever. My mother was my buffer from that truth as well.

I have made so many mistakes, like my mother did, and in forgiving her, I must also forgive myself. But there is time to learn from my regrets and do better...for me, and for her.

Oh, how I long to hear her voice. I think this is what she would say if I could share my epiphanies with her: "Get on with it, Angie...I know you can do it!"

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