I continue to move through my grief with intentionality. I take time to cry, to pray out loud and ask Jesus to say hi to my mom for me, and to buy and use little things that remind me of my sweet Mama. She is woven into my days and as time ticks on, it is settling in that she isn’t just taking a nap or out of town or too busy to call. Peace continues to crash into my heart and leave a quiet pool of “it is well with my soul” as I understand more and more the reality in which she is living. Yesterday I happy cried for her as I pictured her in heaven, rejoicing with the other saints, in her element of praising her Savior. I know she is truly living her best heavenly life!
I am always cautious to share certain things, waiting for the right timing which to me means that I have processed, worked through and digested what’s on my heart. These first eight months I have spent a lot of time processing my regrets which I have decided to name my “regroups.” Although I look back and realize I would have done some things differently in my relationship with my mom, I draw an imaginary circle around myself and visualize the people that are close to me in that circle and I realize that there are dozens of people that I can regroup with. As I am honest with myself in evaluating things I wish I would have done more of or done better or even done at all, the anxiety turns into hope as I realize I can take the things I learned and integrate them into my family and friend relationships.
This is how we become better parents, siblings, adult children, friends and partners. We take our loss and extract the beauty in the relationship we had the honor of having with another human as we let that beauty grow in our relationships with those who are close to us. Every relationship is a gift and as our hearts heal, we take the essence of the beautiful parts of that relationship we no longer have and integrate it into who we are and how we love.
As I have processed, I have identified things that I not only wish I would have done differently, but I now work to do differently in real life with those around me. These are my regroups:
- I wish I would have sought my mom out more at holidays, dinners and gatherings. I think I took her for granted and gravitated to visitors or people I hadn’t seen in awhile, but I wish I would have had more time with the queen at the dinner table.
- I would love to know more about family antiques (who they originally belonged to, how they came to our family).
- I would love to know the stories behind some of my mom’s vintage jewelry.
- My mom had a book about her last wishes and she asked for it when we were at the hospital. When I went to grab it at her house, I realized it was empty (I thought she had filled it out). She was too sick to tell me what she wanted. That broke my heart.
- My mom and I had different design tastes, I wish I would have supported her more in my comments and feedback over the years.
- I lost my mom in my hardest working years. I got to spend so much precious time with her but now I wish I would have had even more. I don’t beat myself up for this but when we really love someone we just want more…time, relationship and love.
- I have just a handful of pics of just me and my mom (lots with other people in them). I wish I had 100. Take lots of selfies!
- I found a questionnaire that she filled out that asked, essentially, “who is your person (outside of your spouse)?” She wrote down one of her close friends and then she put my name and in parenthesis, “depending on what it is.” I know what that means…I wasn’t always 100% in for her because I was dealing with my own stuff. I wish she could have put down my name with no disclaimers.
At the end of the regrouping session I had with myself, I rewarded my heart with three things that are now so meaningful to me and that I cling to as I reflect back on my relationship with my mom. It’s so healthy to do this! It’s an incredible exercise to identify the memories and reflections that fill our hearts:
- I’m so grateful my schedule allowed me to spend her final days with her.
- I know she is rejoicing in heaven. I know she is where we all want to be someday. I know I will see her again and we will spend eternity together.
- My mom was one of my best friends. I have always loved her, respected her and appreciated her role in my life so much. I will weave the lessons she has taught me and the person she was to me into my life, as much as I authentically can.
If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share. God carved out a path of intense healing for me and I would like to share it with as many people who need or want to hear.