Wallowing

When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Luke 4:13 (NRSV)

I had a bad day last Friday–the three week mark of my mother’s death. What surprised me was the suddenness and the force with which the sadness hit me. It was totally unexpected. I imagine myself as someone who is equipped to deal with these bouts of grief, given how frequently others share their grief with me. I have been trained to look for signs and indications of how others are coping and how they’re progressing. But none of this training was focused on myself, or perhaps I didn’t pay attention in class the day that was covered. In view of that experience, I am now at least aware that I will again experience that “dark night of the soul” at some point in the future. It will be interesting to see how I deal with it.

Anyway, I came upon this poem by one of my favorite poets, Emily Dickinson, which captures somewhat the way I have become observant of grief, both my own and others.

I measure every grief…

I measure every grief I meet
With analytic eyes;
I wonder if it weighs like mine,
Or has an easier size.

I wonder if they bore it long,
Or did it just begin?
I could not tell the date of mine,
It feels so old a pain.

I wonder if it hurts to live,
And if they have to try,
And whether, could they choose between,
They would not rather die.

I wonder if when years have piled–
Some thousands–on the cause
Of early hurt, if such a lapse
Could give them any pause;

Or would they go on aching still
Through centuries above,
Enlightened to a larger pain
By contrast with the love.

The grieved are many, I am told;
The reason deeper lies,–
Death is but one and comes but once
And only nails the eyes.

There’s grief of want, and grief of cold,–
A sort they call ‘despair,’
There’s banishment from native eyes,
In sight of native air.

And though I may not guess the kind
Correctly yet to me
A piercing comfort it affords
In passing Calvary,

To note the fashions of the cross
Of those that stand alone
Still fascinated to presume
That some are like my own.

– Emily Dickinson

I miss you, Mom.

Marking Time

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more, mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4
It will be three weeks tomorrow that my mother died. It seems so long ago and yet the memory is still raw. I am still receiving cards, e-mails and telephone calls that serve as a constant reminder that she is gone. Yet, I continue to speak of her in the present tense.
We are going through an exchange of e-mails with the gravestone designer, who can’t quite seem to grasp the concept of the design we want.
The funeral, by the way, was wonderful, as far as funerals go. We were overwhelmed by the number of people that came to calling hours at the funeral home and the funeral itself. There were people I never expected to see and from quite a distance. It was a tremendous source of comfort for my sisters and me. The words, “thank you,” don’t seem adequate enough to express our appreciation for the support.
There are still some challenging moments ahead. Mother’s Day is coming up soon, followed by the year-long numbers of first holidays without her. That’s where I find this blog helpful.
I hope, over the course of time, to share special stories. Stories that I remember, stories that people shared with me, and stories that reflect the unique relationship that Mom had with each and every person she met. Yes, she will become greater in death than she was in life. It won’t be necessary to exaggerate or embellish things because in every case, the stories that will appear here will be true. She was a memorable individual!

EL CORAZÓN DE UNA MADRE – THE HEART OF A MOTHER

This is the tribute that I read at Mom’s funeral. It is entitled, “The Heart of a Mother.” At some later date I may translate it, but for now, I will leave it in Spanish. I would love to attribute the source, but I don’t know who it is. I found it on the internet and made just a couple really minor modifications, but it is NOT my own work.

El Corazón de una Madre

Cuando el Señor hizo a la mujer, era su sexto día de trabajo, haciendo horas extras. Un Ángel apareció y trató de detener al Señor. “Esto es demasiado trabajo para un solo día, mejor espera hasta mañana para terminar”.

“Pero no puedo”, protestó el Señor. Estoy tan cerca de terminar esta creación por lo que está muy cerca de mi corazón. El Ángel se acercó y tocó a la mujer. “Pero la has hecho tan suave, Señor”

“Ella es suave,” asintió el Señor, “pero también la hice fuerte. No tienes ni idea de lo que puede resistir o lograr.”El Ángel notó algo y se estiró y tocó la mejilla de la mujer. “Oh, parece que este modelo tiene una falla.”

“Esa no es una falla,” respondió el Señor. “Eso es una lágrima.”

“¿Y para qué son las lágrimas,” preguntó el Ángel? El Señor dijo, “La lágrima es la forma en que ella expresa su alegría, su pena, su desilusión, su soledad, su dolor y su orgullo.”

El Ángel estaba impresionado. “¡Eres un genio, Señor! ¡¡Pensaste en todo ya que las mujeres son en verdad asombrosas!!” Las madres tienen fuerzas que asombran a los hombres. Llevan a los hijos, sobrellevan dificultades, llevan pesadas cargas pero se aferran a la felicidad, amor y alegría. Sonríen cuando quieren gritar. Cantan cuando quieren llorar. Lloran cuando están felices y ríen cuando están nerviosas. Pelean por lo que creen. Se sublevan contra la injusticia. No aceptan un “no” por respuesta cuando creen que existe una solución mejor. No se compran zapatos nuevos pero a sus hijos sí…Acompañan al médico a un amigo asustado. Aman incondicionalmente. Lloran cuando sus hijos sobresalen y ovacionan a sus amigos cuando triunfan. Se les rompe el corazón cuando un amigo muere. Sufren cuando pierden a algún miembro de la familia pero son fuertes cuando no hay de donde más sacar fuerzas. Saben que un abrazo y un beso puede sanar un corazón roto. Las madres vienen en todos los tamaños, colores y formas. Manejan, vuelan, caminan o te mandan e-mails para decirte cuánto te quieren. El corazón de las madres es lo que hace el mundo girar!
Las madres hacen más que dar a luz. Ellas traen alegría y esperanza; compasión e ideales. Sí, el corazón de la madre es asombroso! ¡Bendito sea Dios por darnos a todos una MADRE!
¡GRACIA MAMI!

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