A sassy southern sun brushes the morning air clear of leftover foggy memories; slowly it polishes the sky to a sparkle, nature and time gently merge for another great overture of life.
Perhaps the week of Mother’s Day has always been this unique. I know it is forever linked with the memories of the past for me. Warm, fuzzy pictures wrap like ribbons round and round in my mind.
“Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit; and from thy own thoughts.” The Quakers said it best.
Mother’s Day Sunday: decked out in my Sunday duds. I always thought there must have been some kind of rule requiring awkward little girls to wear bows the size of Kansas; tight curls, and the red flower pinned to our dress like a badge of honor. “Thou shalt wear a flower to church; ruby-red if your mother is living; white if she is not.” Everybody at our church followed the rule faithfully. Even the boys managed to slick down, stubborn cowlicks, and stick a flower on their clean suits.
The ritual never changed, year after year, through childhood and school, marriage and babies; then suddenly she was gone. Suddenly, it was time to wear a white flower instead of red. Not for me! Mother was red, and all my memories of her were, “red flowers.”
We’re different those of us who’s mothers have gone and left us to fend for ourselves. For that is exactly what we wind up doing no matter how loving our family or friends. Suddenly we become the grownup. Overnight somebody begins to look at us the way we use to look at our mothers. There is no support system, no job sharing in this mother-business. We become our mothers, and we’re never ready.
Somehow we always believed that our mother’s greatest calling was us, and maybe it was. Somehow we never imagined life without her, but it came.
I have written so much about Mama over the years. Still, I haven’t come close to the real picture. I could never capture in print the goodness of her nature. I have written that she was always prepared, and sometimes stubborn. Willful, strong, determined, but always forgiving. She read the Bible several times a day, and marked the passages that touched her heart. I feel her looking over my shoulders when I read her notations in the index.
A strange thing happens when you lose your mother. In some ways we become stronger, more dependable. We straighten our back. Eventually, we get our priorities straight. We do what we need to do and often only what we just want to do. Suddenly it hits us that the only certainty is today. The only time is now.
I remember when she died it felt somehow like losing my own life must feel. It would be like coming home and finding a big hole where your house used to stand. And I wondered, where in the world could I go now. Friends said it would be all right and I knew that though they meant well, it would never be the same, never really be, “all right” again. Immediately the applause had ended, the stage was quiet, and the seat in the front row of my life would remain forever empty.
The truth is there is no one, ever, in your life like your mother. Your mother is the mirror, that point from which you began. It is who you are.
I hope I’ve learned from her death, maybe a little more about being a kinder person in this life. People still stop me on the street and say, “Hey, I remember your mother, she was so good to me.” I know, Mama was a class act, hard to follow.
The thing is when all is said and done the final thing about losing your mother is; you never, ever, really get used to it. You want her back. You need her. And you would trade all you might have learned from her passing, just to see her smile once more. And “you will’’ go through this life knowing that part of you is gone forever. The pain of living without her touch may be lessened in time, but it is always there.
Wear a white flower? Never! My mother was too alive. She was the red-rose of my life.
So, I will try to be “still and cool” but I will forever laugh and cry at the memories she scattered for me to gather.