As today marks three years since my mom died, I've been in a very deep darkness lately. This time of year always proves harder than I think. While others see life, fresh flowers, green, sunshine, warmth, I see darkness, death, decay, and blooming gardenias that remind me that my mom can't clip them and keep them in a little glass by the kitchen sink anymore. Any sweet-smelling breeze reminds me of her. Every garden, I see her kneeling by a flower bed like every spring Saturday morning of my life. I put a tissue in my purse because of allergies, and I remember how she always had the worst allergies and tissues would fly out of her purse every time she pulled her wallet out. I found a couple of her purses the other day. Every single one of them had tissues in them. A nail file. Loose change. Old receipts. Like she wasn't even gone, I was just sneaking her purse out to borrow it.
And today, I remember the 3 am trip to the hospital, even though looking into her eyes, we all knew she was gone. When it was confirmed and we went into the room where her body was, she was unrecognizable. Not only because of the cancer and chemo, but the absence of spirit. I know my mama's face, and it wasn't there anymore. Any time I hear a siren, I remember the flashing lights outside the house, two EMT's carrying my mom out to the ambulance on a bed sheet. I'm still not sure why they didn't bring a stretcher in. I remember throwing decent clothes on as quick as possible, then looking down to realize every piece of clothing I had on was some kind of Alabama paraphernalia. Mom would've enjoyed that. I remember calling my important people to tell them she was gone as a group of doctors and nurses joked and laughed nearby with coffee cups in hand, a dead body in the nearest room, and a crying, Alabama-clad young lady on the phone not ten feet away. That day is one of the few that I've been up early enough to see the sunrise.
People are often afraid to ask those who have lost someone how they're doing. I've been told they're nervous to ask because they fear they'll remind that person of their loss and make them sad when they were otherwise having a good day. Let me assure you, that even three years later, I am still always thinking of her. No one can ever remind me of her death because I never forget about it. Good days are just the ones where I can remember it but find something else that makes me feel okay. Bad days are the ones where I remember it but it forms clouds around me so I can't find anything else to hold onto. After three years I thought I'd be better at preventing bad days, but I'm not. There's a song by my favorite artist Johnny Flynn called "After Eliot" and I listen to it a lot. There's one line that says "What did I lose to mourn so long?" and it makes me cry 9/10 times. I lost my mama who so tenderly and fiercely loved me. I think even in thirty years, I will feel the same on May seventh. This terrible, frightening day.
A very wise friend shared with me today, "I've been realizing that time doesn't really do much healing... it's only about the way we surrender our feelings to God." Time does nothing but give false promises and delay recovery. But God makes the good days possible. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ." Ephesians 2: 4-5