My mother died today. Not in the last 24 hour period, but she died today. It’s been 11 years and I still remember. Everyone remembers that day of loss, because it’s not just the day our someone died, it’s the day a part of us died. She died, and with her, a part of me died.
Yesterday, my agenda held a post with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. The word was “encourage.” My plan consisted of finishing my coffee and then writing for 5 minutes. Yet in my moments of sipping coffee, the phone rang and my friend became my agenda.
An hour later, when returning to my coffee, my son was needing love and my family needed lunch. Noon was drawing closer and that “encourage” post went off the agenda.
Friday is hubby’s day with us so after lunch, as the kids continued with their school work, we went out for errands and more coffee.
Through the errands, our paths crossed with others. In the first store there were three paths, another store crossed another path and the last place crossed two more.
We returned home and the day simply carried on until my neighbor called.
My neighbor across the road.
We’ve been crossing the road often these days. Her sweet John has been battling. They’ve been battling together and yesterday he crossed over to his eternal Home and now she crosses over to a new path of grief. A path needing courage.
I opened my calendar and began marking our meeting time with her when I saw it again: January 18. A date I don’t forget. A date forever in my mind. It will always carry meaning. It will always carry loss.
And maybe this year it carries more. The dates match the days of the week 11 years ago. It was on a Friday, Jan 17…11 years ago…I flew to Iowa…the last time I would see her.
I recalled to Hubby last night….I remember that flight. I remember what I was wearing…I remember how the minutes ticked slowly and I couldn’t get there fast enough.
On the flight from Albany to Detroit I sat next to a woman. I don’t remember her name nor will I meet her again in this life yet I remember what she said as she sat in her aisle seat:
“Where ya headed?”…Iowa
“Pleasure or business?”…. I’m flying home…saying good-bye to my mother…is that pleasure or is that business?
She sat silent, then softly whispered, “I’m sorry!” After a few moments, in a reflective, thoughtful tone she spoke tenderly:
“I watched you in the terminal before we boarded the plane. You were sitting there in your nice coat, with your cute shoes and bag. I thought to myself, ‘Now there’s a girl with it all together.’ Yet here I sit next to you now and your mother is dying…..It goes to show you, we never know what’s happening to someone on the inside by what is seen on the outside.”
Her words have never left me. They come to me when I see others in the airport, at the store and even in our church seats.
That 5 Minute Friday post didn’t happen on encourage but more than writing a post on encourage is living encourage~ walking with those facing and dealing with difficulty, pain or loss.
My One Word for this year is Courage
Courage ~ the attitude or response of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it.
Remembering mom takes courage. Instead of withdrawing from all those feelings, I take them in and remember. I remember and I cry. Because in remembering, I honor. In remembering, I love. And in remembering, I live courage.
I live courage with friends on the phone, I live courage as I cross paths in the errand running, and I live courage as I cross the road to walk the path of grief with those who live near.
And in days living out this courage, I don’t always have the words to say. It’s in days living courage that I trip over the type, I fumble over the words yet I fall into grace. His grace. His grace that carries me through.
Today, whatever path you walk, I pray His grace meets you there and carries you through.