Grateful to Grieve

I’m thinking of my mother.  I feel so much.  It’s hard to hold so many feelings.  So much gratitude.  So much sense of loss.  Such profound feelings of connection yet separation.  In my hardest times, it was always the thought of my mother that kept me attached to Life.  No, I don’t worship her!  Although, when I was very young, without thinking about it, I adored her.  I’m sure she was my first love.  I sometimes think of my childhood best-friend as my first love because she was my first heart-break (parting from her when my family moved to Puerto Rico).  However, when I think of my earliest memories from age three, when I call up remembered images and feelings, I know I was “in love with” my mother, meaning: I had a healthy, happy, strong attachment to her.

Sometimes people talk about my mother as a non-cuddly mother or some other kind of phrase that attempts to describe her reserve which some experienced as a kind of coolness.  However, while I have struggled with some aspects of my relationship w/ my mother, her reserve was not one of those things.  It has confused me at times because while certainly there were times when I needed surer, more ready, intimacy with her which she didn’t provide, her actual way of being reserved suited me quite well.  I am naturally reserved too.  I’m sure it’s in my DNA, and not just learned from her, or a response/reaction to some other environmental influences.

I like being reserved.  I like me as an “introvert.”  I like myself while alone.  I like solitude.  I can experience greater loneliness with some other people than when alone.  What has confused me in the past regarding my relationship with my mother has had to do with the ways I needed her as a teenager and she didn’t notice.  But it’s also true that she sometimes noticed and didn’t know how to reach me.  It’s also true she was confused.  And all the ways she provided for me, taught me, empowered me, and was indeed “there for me” at some critical times, all those ways and times and gifts are so abundant that I feel only over-whelming gratitude for her, her life, her mothering, her friendship.

The other feelings that I contend with in my grieving process are forms of pain and sorrow for the pain she suffered throughout her life and especially when dying.  When I think of her physical pain at the end, my stomach gets tied up in knots.  Even now as I write this paragraph my gut cramps and hurts.  But, what’s new today is that I can endure thinking about all that long enough to write about it.

I’m finally far enough along in my grief (/healing?/acceptance?) that I can grieve with feelings and tears and not clench off my heart.  Yesterday I saw a movie that involved someone dying.  The way the movie ended was cathartic for me.  I “bawled like a baby.”  I was able to let myself cry with my whole body and with tears.  It felt so cleansing and nourishing at the same time.  It felt like I was being and holding my real self.

I contend with dry eye.  It had been getting worse for over a year until a couple of months ago I started lubricant/gel eye drops that were effective.  So now I have tears again.  And I’m glad to be able to use them!  It sounds strange in words to say that I’m glad to grieve, I’m glad to cry, but I’m sure anyone who has been through this will know how much sense that makes.

While I write this I’m listening to Tuck & Patti’s album “A Gift of Love.”  It’s a great album in every way.  It accompanies me perfectly now while I think of my mother.

God bless Almeda with the fullness of Love, Joy, Peace, Freedom, forever.

Oh, Abba-Papa-Lord, I love my mother!  Thank You for her!  Bless all of her with all of You!

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Right Now

10 Things I am grateful for right now:

1) God’s Presence, Love, and the Spirit’s inexplicable Peace.

2) Caring spouse, family, and friends.

3) My home.

4) Enough stability (internally and externally) I can face current disturbances without becoming debilitated.

5) Music, always music!  (Right now, Bossa Nova’s in particular.)

6) Prayer!  The amazing gift of prayer: always available, always free, always grace.

7) My cats, coffee, books, and all simple pleasures.

8) Showering!  I’m always so grateful to experience clean, warm water!

9) My dad, and all the people in his dementia ward: it’s amazing how nourishing is the fellowship amongst people who are Just Being.  Exercising my being-present to the Present is such a present!!! Such great gift. Amazing grace.

10) My dad’s amazingly consistent faith in the Lord: what a nourishing inspiration.