I know it has been a few weeks since my last post, but it was this time last year when Mom started her slow and final decline. I remember the fall leaves changing into vibrant colors as my Mom grew more weak. I do rejoice in her no longer suffering, but the change in seasons brought me back to the anxiety, uncertainty and grief I felt last fall. Seeing the trees in my neighborhood fade into fall has been a slight, but painful reminder of her suffering just a year ago. So, when some dear family friends invited us for a visit to North Carolina, I was more than happy to go. I couldn’t have picked a better time to get out of town, change up the scenery, and catch up with some wonderful friends. So, along with my Dad, we set out for North Carolina!
My Mom’s dear friend was unable to travel and did not attend the funeral services in February. She was looking for a chance to gain some kind of closure after the loss of such a wonderful friend. We had a chance to visit about all the things my Mom liked to do and things she would say. I had hoped to be able to help her cope with the grief she had been feeling, but what I discovered was just how healing it was for me to be around someone who knew my Mom so very well. I felt nothing but joy revisiting with her all the times she shared with my Mom and of all the things they used to enjoy doing together….primarily shopping – my Mom’s favorite hobby (and who am I kidding, one of mine too). We visited several of the special places in western North Carolina that she had visited with my Mom. Sharing stories about different things Mom would have enjoyed and laughing at how she might have reacted to the latest practical joke was more than healing for me, it was really a lot of fun.
It’s in sharing wonderful stories and memories that really keeps her love alive. I truly felt in my heart the spirit of what my Mother was to those who loved her and knew her as a friend. There was a certain exuberance that came alive while reminiscing, almost like I could feel the excitement my Mom felt if she herself had been on the trip with us. What I enjoyed the most was that our stories were about the person Mom was, not the disease and suffering she endured. I am a big believer in “signs” from above, so I can’t help but think that loving feeling I experienced in my heart was Mom’s way of letting me know she was right there with us the whole time.