The day in between

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March 8th had never previously had a profound effect on my life.  It had always been a day like any other.  But three years ago, that day marked the separation between the calendar date that my mother and my father passed away.  Although the losses were separated by almost 8 years, the fact did not go unrecognized that the dates of their individual passing almost overlapped.  March 7th was the third anniversary of my mom’s passing and March 9th will be the 11th anniversary of losing my dad.

Time is a funny thing.  Had those moments not occurred within less than 48 hours of each other, eight years later, that single day on the calendar would go by inconspicuously.  It would still be a day like any other.

arch bridge

But today has become a bridge – a connection that holds the memories of both my mom and my dad in a splendid moment of happiness between the two saddest days of our lives.

Today is the day when their laughter is heard and the thoughts of their smiles are etched in our memories.  Those moments shine above the heartbreak of their losses.  Today is the day that will hold us in its embrace, allowing us to live in the contentment of how wonderful life was when they were both still with us.  And today is the day that we can stand on top of that bridge and not feel the pain of loss on either side.

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One thousand and ninety six days

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Three years ago today, March 7th, was the worst day of my life.  I woke up to my cell phone ringing at 7:00 am and the voice on the other end of the phone told me my mother had passed away in her sleep.  We knew she had been ill, but she had been having a great week during the week leading up to her passing so her death came as a shock.

There are still days I get excited to tell her about something that happened and mindlessly reach for the phone to call her.  I’m sure that will never  change.  Below is the poem I wrote and read at her celebration of life.  I miss you mom.

You left us in the early hours,

so peacefully your spirit would roam.

Through a gentle wind and the rising sun,

the angels called you home.

A ladder was built for your journey to light,

each rung meant to make you content.

While bathed in the glowing light of rebirth,

you gracefully began your ascent.

Loving arms awaited  you there,

curling you into their embrace.

Heaven welcomed an angel back home,

 rejoicing her love and her grace.

You leave behind your spirit and joy,

in those who loved you each day.

While our days will be saddened by the emptiness we feel,

we know we will see you someday.

~

Jane Eleanore Nairn – May 21, 1940 – March 7, 2014

 

Don’t be offended, but I am not a fan of the Beetles

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In May of 2014, I bought a young Birch tree and planted it in my mom’s memory.  The tree is just outside of my living room window and, recently, my brother, sister-in-law and my nephews came over to place the river rocks around the tree that we collected at her celebration of life.  Each rock contains a word or two that was written by friends and family to share their memories of our mom.

I have been faithfully watering the tree each day and trying to make sure it thrives in its new home.  Last year I had noticed some of the leaves were beginning to yellow.  Upon closer examination, I also discovered the tree had become home to a bug that I have never seen before and this particular creature loves to devour the greenery and skeletonize the foliage.   Had these pests been named John, Paul, George or Ringo I may have been a little more forgiving, but these Japanese Beetles waged a war that I had sworn to win.

beetles

(image credit: walterspropertyservices.com)

 I diligently tended to my tree at least three times a day to pick these creatures off, one by one, to rid the poor tree of this unnecessary destruction.  Google and the garden center staff seemed to agree that this is the most effective way to eradicate these pesky bugs.  I only hoped that I could put an end to them before they put an end to my tree.

My tree blossomed beautifully again this spring but the creatures are back with a vengeance.  If anyone is going to Japan in the near future, save some room in your luggage.  I would love to send these iridescent insects packing!!

Keeping a piece of you with me

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butterfly

This pendant hangs around my neck,

a talisman of angelic proportion,

to be a gentle reminder of a life that once was.

This simple butterfly

holds the key to my beginning

and serves as a great source of comfort

when I feel like I am falling

into the abysmal chasm of grief.

For this charm holds a piece of you,

of each of you,

and I draw strength knowing that a part of you

will always be with me,

there to give me that sense of your presence

whenever I need it most.

Ashes to ashes

as yours are forever bound to the other.

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I will love you until…..

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I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot lately.  Her heart was certainly bigger than her chest and she would continually think of little things to do for people just to see them smile.   She would spend weeks leading up to Christmas baking until she could bake no more.  Her house forever had the essence of cookies and squares and the Christmas tins were piled high on her dining room table.

Her favorite day was not Christmas day but the day that she would drive, or later be driven, to all of the places where she would deliver her wares.  The local Hardware store, the post office and the local veterinarians would excitedly open the tins to see their favorite type of cookie and their reaction was the only present she truly wanted.

My mom was the type of person who would learn those little things about you and she would make sure your favorite cookies made their way to you during the holidays.

yellow rose

I was reminded of this wonderful quality when I was rearranging some things in my kitchen.  There in the midst of my jar of utensils was a lone yellow rose.  I had long forgotten the bouquet of flowers my mother had given me for no reason.  Attached to the fragrant arrangement was a simple card that read, “I will love you until the last flower dies”.  I thought it was an odd message until I saw the flower in the middle of the bunch.  It was a lovely yellow rose, but it was artificial.  It would never die.

That was my mom.  And those little nuances that made her who she was are the things I miss the most.  Some days I’m fine, a phrase we are really no longer allowed to use in my family, and some days, like today, the emotion sneaks up on me and I cannot control the flow of tears.

But it is not just the rose that reminds me that she will always be with me.  My mom is somehow still able to pull strings and make wonderful things happen in our lives that we never expected.  And it is these things, the things that only my mom would know, that make the gesture so special and so meaningful.

To say I miss her is a gross understatement and I hope she knows I will be holding that same yellow rose when we finally meet again.

 

 

 

 

 

Two kisses

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sunrise-18a

In the wee hours of the morning,

her visits often happen then,

the charge in the air is palpable

and sleep is still in my head.

Her message hangs heavily in the air,

the words are always the same.

“Two kisses I will give you,

to help get you through your day.

 One kiss is to give you courage,

to help you save the world.

The other kiss is to help protect you

from the curve balls that life will hurl”.

Her words soothe me and give me peace

in the last moments of my sleep.

And on my cheeks, as I face the world,

two kisses I shall keep.

~~

This was the poem in my head at 4:00 am.  I will be forever grateful for those kisses.  I miss you mom.

(image credit: santabanta.com)

Peace in pieces

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piece of my heart

Patiently I await a peace in my heart,

wanting to no longer feel bereft.

But sadly there is a piece of my heart,

you took with you when you left.

Stories I want to share with you

now fall on invisible ears.

The longing to hear your reaction

only reduces me to tears.

I know somehow you hear me,

you know exactly what I have to say.

And I know you well enough to know

you’re with me every step of the way.

My heart continues to beat as it should

but an echo can be heard from within.

Only the healing of time can restore my peace

and put back that piece that fits in.

~

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