It’s been twelve days since my mother left this earth
and I’ve lived each one of them,
lived them full and awake and as tenderly open as I know how.
The days just before were some of the most intense that I’ve known and I’m not ready
to unpack those and make words for them yet.
But I’m up before the sun to remember the gifts that found me these days
in the exquisite pain of love.
For the heave of relief that her considerable suffering is no more,
that her body and being were able to rest back peaceful into those everlasting arms
that she trusted to carry her home.
And for the memory of her smile as she leaned into the turn.
For the fog that wrapped the next morning as I made my way to work,
as if the clouds understood my need to disappear for just awhile
and so came down to offer cover those first gritty hours.
And the chores that let my hard tangle of feelings get dirty and sweaty
and walk hard and long until they drained off soft again.
For the fatigue that came from work instead of waiting.
For the black and blue swallowtail that fluttered around me slow,
and then around again and again in soft circles around my face
while Hope watched and cried because she said she saw it happen to another
the day after she too lost her mother
and my heart felt it like a massage
and my breath went deep.
For the kindness of friends who
loved me in it all
and let me say my pain.
And the song that came alongside to walk me through
* Let it Fall* by Over the Rhine
For the goldfinches who flew alongside my window.
For a table thick with laughter and family and Mexican Train
and the soul food of being there loved.
For time on the deck with my sister while the stars bent low to kiss the ridge tops
and how we felt it thin the line between here and there
and got to say our things and listen and understand;
For the butter and balm of that starry night share.
For the project that wouldn’t wait and was lightning strike to my tired places,
a jolt into a focus that gave my grief a shelf for keeping until.
For the way it challenged my art making expansive and stretchy
when I wanted to curl up and just not.
For the deep breath of yes between my bones when we finished.
For the kindness of words written on little bites of art – the magic
of cards that travel through the mail to rest in my box.
And for the gift of needed provision that arrived just exactly when,
like care packages from heaven.
That the food poisoning didn’t kill me
though, Lord, felt like it tried:)
For the kindness of hands that tugged the sadness from my feet
and rubbed the weight from my shoulders with a sigh.
It feels a primal sort of pain to lose a mama
and I fling thanks for the goodness of mine
and for every drop of comfort and challenge along the way.
Today I will tug free the words I’ll share at her service on Friday
and God it feels daunting to pick up the pen.
Thanks for letting me prime the pump and share with you here, my treasured friends.
I appreciate your kind listen.
“‘Cause rain and leaves and snow and tears and stars,
and that’s not all my friend,
they all fall with confidence and grace,
So let it fall, let it fall.”
– Jerome Detweiler
Over the Rhine