Two weeks pass me by in a blur of motion, but I was the blur. Each moment pregnant, full, laden with responsibility, duty heavy with promise. For that promise I pry my eyes open, guzzle diet Dr. Pepper (though I knew I shouldn’t), and keep my hands moving, my arms reaching. On my first day back in my parent’s home, I begin by pulling out boxes and carrying things to corners around the large home. I unpack a room and flood the rest of the home treasures, monuments to unfinished joys; a quilt needing its border, albums needing to be filled, crafts planned yet unmade. A bookshelf rests in a corner of its own, happily carrying the hopes of presents to be created, but I deplume it envisioning my mother’s mind. Who was she thinking of when she copied out this craft, this recipe, this project? I begin to realize in a moment of panic that as well as I knew her, as many times we had discussed her hopes and plans, I cannot possibly remember everything. I push aside the thought that no one expects me to, this is something I am putting on myself.
I retreat, my soul dragging the ground, into the humid sanctuary of my parent’s bathroom and stare at her large seashells. Creamy with peach and pink, I gaze at it as my toes sink deep into the heat of the water and let the gigantic bathtub soothe my perfectionistic dreams.
My mother called herself a frustrated perfectionist, and I am definitely her daughter. This home is crowded with memories, with dreams, with love so full I could burst. I do burst, I dissolve into tears and tiptoe into the closet where her clothes still hang, bury my head in her shirts and breathe deep, hoping for her scent, some reminder of her. But she is not here. I shake my head and breathe a prayer; her pain is gone, she has gone to find peace with God.
But I am left behind, I find myself sorting and wondering odd thoughts like, why did you keep melted wax? Did you really believe macrame was coming back in style? Why did you purchase so many wallets and who are they for?
As I pray and dry myself tearless, I feel the comfort of my Savior wrapping me in His warmth. Mourning is a process, not to be delegated, not to be rushed through. As I continue to sorting, I smile and ponder. I think of people she loved and people she wanted to help. Piles become blessings, while I sort out what was good for only one moment and must be discarded so as not to weigh us down and what can last and bring joy into the next. I laugh with abandon at when I find a magazine of “fashionable sewing” from times gone by with a solitary and awkward male model draped across the cover. What oddities will I leave behind to befuddle my own dear ones?
I couldn’t resist adding one of the strangest things we found. My sisters and I call this “the scary clown pillow” that was evidently used for a strange costume. We have laughed till we cried! (picture courtesy of Jessica Kess Vaughn)
Proverbs 1:8-9 The Message:
Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you;
never forget what you learned at your mother’s knee.
Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair,
like rings on your fingers.
For further meditation:
2 Corinthians 4:16-13; Philippians 3:7-21