I am in an odd place these days, after the passing of my mother. Beyond the normal feelings of love, and guilt, and pain felt for a future without her, I can't stop thinking about her relationship with my children. For those of you who have lost a parent when you yourself were a parent of little ones, you know what I mean.
I keep looking at my beautiful children and hoping that they will one day know how special their grandmother was. I keep telling myself that thank God I was able to move back when I did. Between September and Christmas we visited many times with Mom and Dad. Mom had the chance to get to know how funny and clever James is, and she had many opportunities to hold Ella (or LuLu, as she liked to call her) and kiss her. Together with my Dad she showered the kids with Christmas gifts--vintage books and dolls, blocks, toys and other sweet things. I am so glad that she had the time with them that she did.
Right before I submitted her obituary, I spoke with my sister about adding this line: "Her two grandchildren, James and Ella were the apples of her eye. She couldn't wait to teach James all about farm life and have tea parties and play dress-up with Ella."
My father had just told me about a conversation that he had had with a friend of my mother's. She had told him that Mom was very excited to have tea parties with my daughter when she was a little older. I love knowing that. But I am also terribly saddened by it.
On another note, my sister and I are in the midst of preparing Mom's Celebration of Life. We want the service to be loving and funny. I have no doubt that there will be tears--but there must also be some laughter. My mother would never abide a solemn and dark event.
I spent Saturday with my sister in Mom's shop, getting organized, cleaning up a bit and of course stumbling over pictures, little items and handwritten notes of Mom's that would alternately make me cry, laugh and cry again. I will be headed up to Maine many more times to help my Dad sort things out. I only regret that I hadn't made the trip to Maine more often in January when my Mother became ill. But I guess at some point I will need to stop looking back, and start looking forward, instead.
To those of you who have reached out to me, either with flowers, e-mails, postings to my FaceBook account or comments here, I must tell you how appreciative I am of your warmth and love.