After my mom died, one of the hardest parts was not being able to have our daily conversations.
Not being able to pick up the phone and call her was gut and heart wrenching, so painful in those first few days and weeks that I was in a constant state of feeling as if I had just been punched and could hardly breathe.
I missed telling her what I was going to do that day and I missed her sharing the same.
I missed her offering guidance that was never preachy or forced or authoritative,
but simply offered.
And I so missed talking to her about the kids. Being a mother was still so new to me. She was that person that loved my kids in the way that I did. She was as entranced and as invested in their every move as I was – I ached for her pure delight in them and her shared concern.
mom and George
Very soon after she died, looking for a way to make my way through the vast emptiness, I started writing to mom over my morning cup of tea. Or rather, I imagined that she was talking to me. I began the entry with, ‘My dear Karen, ‘ and allowed her words to flow.
And they always did.
She talked to me about… how much she knew it hurt, how sorry she was for leaving, how proud and delighted she was over the 3 kids, my dad’s pain, and what might be next for us as a family. Mostly she told me she loved me and was proud of me and that things would be ok…over and over she told me this.
This practice worked so well that I actually looked forward to my morning dates with mom, and certainly for those first few years I would also make sure to set aside other special times to write.. on her birthday, my birthday, the anniversary of her death.
I look back on those writings today and I am amazed at their clarity and wisdom.
I know, of course, that many of you are thinking that it was me writing to me. But does it really matter?
Regardless of whether I felt her love and energy surrounding me (and I did) she is also within me. Her teachings, her ways, and her perspective are all so entrenched in my heart that her words easily came to me and comforted me when I so desperately needed them.
mom gave me this birthday card the year before she died
In October, connecting with our ancestors and with those who have died feels so timely. The Day of the Dead in Mexico on Nov 2., and All Hallows Eve on Oct. 31 (also know as Samhain, the ancient Celtic Fire festival) are both about honouring and respecting our dead. As we descend into the dark and still of winter, it feels good to bring forth stories of love and remembrance, and re-affirm and strengthen our connection to all those who have gone before us. Past the pain and sorrow of loss, there can also be profound gifts of love and grace.
I wrote another related article for our enso collective entitled ‘Where is Spirit’ that speaks to the perspective and peace that can be found in cemeteries.