Two thoughtful gifts came my way this week.
My friend Pam sent a doily table covering that she inherited from her grandmother’s estate. As Pam downsizes and clears out cabinets and closets (something we all do, or should do), she is sharing some of her special possessions with others.
Pam knows that dragonflies are a significant symbol for me and receiving this piece is meaningful. It measures 26 inches across and so will have a prominent place in our home.
The second gift came from my mother’s cousin Nancy.
My mother’s parents are buried at Puritan Lawn Cemetery in Lynnfield. She lived most of her adult life without them; her father died in 1952, two months after she was married and her mother died in 1954. Mum always found the cemetery a difficult place to visit, and when she moved to Maine, I took over looking after her parent’s grave sites for her.
Back in the 50s, my grandmother Ruth’s sister Hazel and her husband Johnny purchased the two adjoining plots at Puritan Lawn so the sisters could rest together into eternity. But as time passed, Hazel and Johnny made other burial arrangements, and when they died, their daughter Nancy acquired the Puritan Lawn through their wills. Nancy offered our family the plots so my Mum and Dad can rest with her parents.
The two gifts come on the day before the 11th anniversary of our daughter’s death. It’s hard to believe she has been gone that long and, and the same time, it feels like she’s been gone forever.
It’s shocking when you realize that you’ve become used to someone no longer being here. The day comes when you stop thinking you need to call to share news or just to talk. It starts another level of grieving, one that is more cruel than the other levels you passed through, because it leaves you feeling that if you’ve stopped looking for them in your daily life, you have stopped loving them.
You never stop missing and you never stop loving them. It’s just a different kind of missing and loving.
Missing my mother is still very fresh. She was my talking buddy when I was driving my car. I called her every day when I left work and continued the daily call after I retired. I called her when I was on way home from a wedding. She always wanted to hear about the couple, what the bride wore, the venue, the guests… all the details.
I think about her every time I get into the car. I asked my car’s Bluetooth connection to call her a few days ago. I got a recorded message advising me that the number is no longer in service.
None of this is easy. It’s supposed to be hard on your heart and to test you at every opportunity. If you’re lucky enough, it’s how you learn to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. It’s how you learn when and how to be kind to yourself. How to pause and collect yourself. How you figure out how strong you are. How to live in the quiet and what not to say to someone else who is grieving.
I miss my Pretty Girl. I miss my Mum and my Dad. I’m grateful for these new gifts. In all the sorrow it’s easy to feel the love.