I’m not sure if I’ve written about some of this before, so forgive me if I have…but right now I am just letting the words flow…
I remember so distinctly some of our conversations those last few months. Twice a day visits, one each from Dad and I, that ebbed into one of us visiting once a day because we were running ourselves ragged and not even noticing it. Conversations about things to come, how the world would be, and how the four of us may or may not move along. But I can hear her saying over, and over, and over….”If you come after 4, it will be too late”. “I won’t make it until 4…so come before then…” And in the most morbid of ways, it became our running joke. And in my attempt to comfort her, to support her into the next stages, I promised that I would think of her at 4 o’clock and every moment between.
So it seems only appropriate that today I should wake up in the wee hours of the morning, feeling strangely wide awake though not in any shape to face the day. I read in a book how sometimes people refer to this time in the early morn as “the witching hour” because nothing good could happen at 3 or 4 in morning (I wish I could attribute that thought to the author, but I can’t seem to recall which book it is from–but that is not my own thought). To me this time is sacred–and I imagine because of its “name” it would be the same for certain groups of the occult. But I consider it my own personal time where the distance, and space, and thickness of the world feels a little bit less between us. And even though my sleep pattern gets thrown off, I am thankful for the moments I can sit at this hour and just be.
It can be difficult to remember. Her voice seems to slip away from your ears and you wonder if you truly remember how it sounded: how your could here the smile in her voice before you saw it on her face, how you knew when you were in trouble just from her tone of exasperation, and the concern and worry that was never far from the core of her being because she loved fiercely about her people and really people in general.
I don’t like today: because it slaps me in the face with the fact that she is gone. Life has been hectic the last several months–there have been numerous changes at work that affect how I work and my typical processes for getting things done–I’ve had to adapt time and time again. I say that because, in a strange way, its helped me cope. I’ve been able to distract myself from the gaping hole in my heart. I’ve been able to push aside some of the grief and not let it crumple me in a corner. But that also makes me feel guilty for not letting myself be raw and vulnerable and real. But that time has also given me much time for reflection as I look at how our congregation moves forward and evolves. And in those moments of contemplation I wonder what her advice would be. I recognize the ball of nerves she’d be as I share everything that is happening in my life and the (self-perceived) difficulties with which I’m faced on the day-to-day.
I don’t know exactly what she’d tell me, but I can imagine the sentiment behind her advice. I remember the strength of her faith and her spirit. I remember the compassion and love she had for me and my sisters. I remember the fierce connection between she and my dad. I remember the twinkle in her eye when she’d say something that was silly or was something that just barely pushed the envelope on its appropriateness. I remember things that bonded our souls, those connections that are unbreakable. I remember life chats snuggled in bed together. I remember the multitude of shopping trips for new clothes: whether her taking me for school clothes or me taking her when she’d stopped driving. I remember the way her cheeks would pink after one glass of wine. And how her nimble fingers could craft up just about anything on her sewing machine that seemed ancient. I remember how as she aged she looked more and more like her dad–and I think fondly about the fact that I will probably follow suit. I remember the difficult days: growing up, as an “adult”, and in the last several years–because life simply isn’t life without the highs and lows.
And even in all of this remembering, it doesn’t make it easier. But I am thankful for the witching hour and the way time suspends–even just for a few split seconds–so that I can catch glimpses of her, feel concentrate moments of her presence, and commune with my mama who I will never stop missing.