I have this extremely vivid memory of my friend’s mom from when I was about eight or so. I was playing at her house when I went into the kitchen for some water because we had been running around outside that summer evening and I was super thirsty. As I was leaving to head back outside, I saw her mom and dad in the hallway. Her mom, who I actually remember exactly what she looked like because she was just so pretty and so nice to me, was crying and her husband was hugging her. They both spotted me looking at them from the kitchen and I was like, oh shit, what’s going on here? My friend’s mom was holding a framed old-fashioned, black and white photograph of a beautiful woman with dark hair, it was my her mom – my friend’s grandmother. As my friend’s mom wiped away her tears and smiled at me to let me know she was alright, her husband told me why she was crying.
He turned the photo my way to show it to me, this is her mom and today it’s her mom’s birthday, he said. He didn’t have to tell me that her mom was no longer here, somehow I got that part. The part I didn’t really understand was why his wife was crying. As a little girl, in my mind, birthdays were exciting. They were a time to eat cake, get presents and have a birthday party. I can remember how sad the mom looked in the hallway, she missed her mother so much. She took the framed photo back, looked at it and hugged it. The dad smiled at me, returned his attention to his lady and gave her another big hug. I turned around and headed outside. At the time I didn’t know why, but that memory has stuck with me ever since.
As the years have passed, I think I have figured out why it has stuck with me. There was a combination of specifics that shaped those couple minutes for me. My friend’s beautiful mom crying when all I knew her to ever do was smile and to be full of excitement. Plus, as a little kid, you don’t really think adults cry. Then there was my friend’s dad comforting his wife – he was so compassionate. Even as a little one, I could see how much he cared for her. And lastly, we were basically having a mini-discussion about death. They never said those words, but I knew that that was the case. They were being very gentle and kid appropriate. Now, at 34, I understand what was going on in that hallway 26 years ago. I felt a similar way this past Mother’s Day. I miss my mom. She’s not here the way she used to be, not at all actually. Last Sunday I found myself crying while looking at a photo of my mom, just like my friend’s mom was doing all those years ago. Although the “loss” of my mom gives me the major cries and even though it hurts so bad some days – I do know of a little secret. I know that the grief of losing a loved one is just proof that I experienced one of the most powerful things a human can experience, love. Knowing and having felt that big love from my mom reminds me of how fortunate I am. That’s basically how I have to Jedi mind trick myself to not go to the dark side of being sad. I give myself the moments I need to lose my shit and cry a little, but once it’s out, I need to focus. I need to stay positive. I want to stay positive. It’s ironic because not only can I relate to that longing of wanting to talk to my mom the way I used to and do all the things moms and daughters do, but that when I’m down, I have that same support and compassion in the form of a husband’s hug. That guy will hug me until I don’t have any tears left and that makes me feel extra freaking lucky. It’s double the love.
Love it. Live it. Share it. XO