Last Sunday at an event, I saw a friend who I haven't seen in a while. We had a quick few moments to greet each other before it started, and she managed to slip in the question, How's grief? I didn't have an answer, really. It came more from a twitch of my shoulders with few words because, for me, there isn't a short answer. Depending on the month, day or hour, the answer is different. Today, Leap Year Day, is the six month anniversary of my mom's funeral. I am grateful to have this day to reflect on that August day and think about how grief has been thus far.
Through my window, the sun streams through bright and glorious, very similar to the morning we celebrated my mom's life. Naturally, I think of her every day and am surprised when her eternal spirit touches me to let me know she'll always be close. I requested to add a written eulogy in the funeral program since the church where her Mass was held refrains from spoken tributes. I've reread it many times this past week. I have an answer for my friend today. I'd say, Can I tell you about my mother? Will you sit with me a moment so I can read to you what I've written about her? I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to share it with you because talking about her is healing.
Your beauty lies in the ways that you graced each of our lives that enlivens our hearts. Maybe you touched someone's life with your cooking or an invitation to your home. Possibly it was a church event, an art performance, a lifelong friendship, or a more recent friendship that grew deep. Perhaps it was merely our smile or the silliness that lived inside you that would appear out of nowhere. Maybe it was your honesty, determination and straightforwardness, warm heart, and gracious spirit that left its mark. You were a woman who lived a full life with vitality countered with a touch of sorrow.
I've come across the words, "Be the things you loved most about the people who are gone," I love this because, to me, gone doesn't mean separated. Gone means learning to live without someone in a new way and with a knowing that they are alive with eternal life. Always close, gone is a flame of everlasting light that burns very near and even within us.
Mom, you were the one. Prayer, Mass, the rosary, love for Mother Mary, conversation, homemade meatballs with mostaccioli, family, friends, an invitation, service work, book club, homemade biscotti and the assortment of Italian cookies, the soil of Italy, homemade pizza, the opera, the symphony, an art museum, the appreciation for antiques, Broadway shows, Lake Michigan, Birch Lake, pilgrimages, homemade Easter bread, shopping on rainy days, dinner parties, family parties, afternoon tea, a glass of wine, farmer's market flowers, acknowledging the life of nature outside the kitchen window...
Through these things and more, you were more at ease being the giver than being the receiving end of things. You fed others in numerous ways. As time propels on, when I look for you or beg to hear your voice, I will delight in and carry on the things that made you who you uniquely were. May your quiet Heavenly light live bright.
Bless the motherhood that dwells in all women for all women are mothers. With Your grace, help me to recognize the women in my life who create a womb of nurturance through friendship, guidance, mentorship, fellowship, and acceptance. Hold close, those who feel the void of a mother in all the ways an emptiness can be felt. With Your love, lighten the grief of those who mourn the women who mothered them.