“Mother passed away this morning” was the message that came over the wires and a darkness overshadowed the spring sunshine; a sadness crept into the birds’ songs.
Some of us have received such messages. Those who have not, one day will. Just as when a child, home was lonely when mother was gone, so to children of a larger growth, the world seems a lonesome place when mother has passed away and only memories of her are left us – happy memories if we have not given ourselves any cause for regret.
Memories! We go thru (sic) life collecting them whether we will or not! Sometimes I wonder if they are our treasures in heaven or the consuming fires of torment when we carry them with us as we, too, pass on.
What a joy our memories may be or what a sorrow! But glad or sad they are with us forever. Let us make them carefully of all good things, rejoicing in the wonderful truth that while we are laying up for ourselves that the very sweetest and best of happy memories, we are at the same time giving them to others.
- “As a Farm Woman Thinks.” Laura Ingalls Wilder, writing as Mrs. A. J. Wilder in The Missouri Ruralist, April 1924.
I was eating dinner tonight watching an American Masters (PBS) episode about Laura Ingalls Wilder, most famous for her Little House on the Prairie novels. Midway through the episode, someone narrates a portion of the above column Wilder wrote after her mother Caroline’s death. I teared up and knew it was time to write something for my blog.
I have never known the grief I felt in those first few days after my mom died. I wanted to jump out of my body to run away from the pain. Akin to what Wilder wrote about being “children of a larger growth” the world was a lonely, dark place. I could not wrap my head around not being able to speak to my mother again.
Our last conversation was Monday, March 16, the day I was laid off from my job due to the pandemic. I was lost and confused. I had never, in my 32 years of working, been laid off. My mother’s advice was to relax. Everything would be okay. Me being me, I didn’t like that advice and didn’t listen. My anxiety on Tuesday and Wednesday rose to the point of having a panic attack Wednesday morning. My children were also thrust into virtual learning that same week. I was in a “what the hell is happening” mode. Not very Mocha Angel-esque.
Then, around 5:30am Thursday, March 19, my dad called to tell me mom had a stroke at home and that he was on his way to hospital. She died around 11:00am. My dad, my brother, and a friend of my mom were with her. I was in the airport when my brother called to tell me. Two moments of grace happened that day: I was in the restroom when he called. I was alone and could grieve when I got the news. Once I got back to my seat to wait for my plane to take me to Atlanta, a woman named Wendy, a total stranger, comforted me. I will never forget her.
That was easily the worst week of my life. Nothing made sense. Three weeks later, my aunt, only two years older than me, died unexpectedly as well. Since then, my memories have been a blend of “treasures in heaven or the consuming fires of torment.” More the treasures in heaven part these days. But grief is not linear. What I am doing now is acknowledging my grief and learning to live with loss one day at a time.
I have been in graduate school since May, which is another reason I haven’t posted. It has been incredibly stressful. It made me push my grief to the side which wasn’t healthiest way to deal. All of this in the middle of a pandemic and a presidential election cycle and more virtual learning for my children and myself, and I started a new job. Let me tell ya’ll…it was rough.
This leaves my blog on hold, for a while. I had a hard time juggling school and life responsibilities. A blog requires a commitment and consistency to grow. Rather than posting seven days a week, I envision a Mocha Angels Monday, Wellness Wednesday, and a Film & TV Friday. All of those things encompass me as The Holistic Storyteller. I can’t write all of those posts and juggle three classes, a job, and running a household. I know people still read my blog everyday. I also know that I will earn a living as a writer one day. It’s what’s in my heart and soul and the thing I am the very best at doing. So it’s not goodbye, it’s see you soon.
Thanks for reading.