I was just innocently walking, and then I spontaneously started crying. That’s how grief works.
Like a thief in the night, grief checks all the locked windows and doors before making an uninvited entrance into your perfectly unsuspecting day.
The memory was one of my mom wearing a Christmas sweater in addition to a Snowman vest during one of our last holidays together. You know those memories that lead to emotions that are sparked from a picture?
I remember I had just come in from a run, and there she was at the kitchen table, talking on the phone, decking the halls like nobody’s business. We sat together at the table as morning light streamed in, and we carried on as mother and daughters do. It was probably either about buying more pajamas (that she didn't need but were on sale), making sure her goddaughter, Andria, received her birthday card on time, or which outfit she would wear for mass that night. I can't recall the exact conversation but that’s not really important. It’s that feeling of missing someone so much it makes your stomach flip.
My mom loved Christmas. It was almost like she saved up all year to CELEBRATE.
From her homemade tortellini soup cooked for company, to the fudge made from scratch that I would sneak when she wasn’t looking, to the Italian biscotti baked in loaves and cut just so. Our home smelled delicious during December. Decorations donned the nooks of every room, while two trees took up residence, pastel lights softening our home with their glow. I wonder if that is why pastel lights are the only ones I will use to this day. Being without a chimney in my childhood home, we hung our stockings with scotch tape on the wall. It worked, and somehow year after year, Santa delivered.
This burglar grief that found an unlocked window in my heart felt like a deep missing of past memories from childhood mixed with the present ones she is no longer a part of. This grief chasm started in my stomach making its way up to my throat before finally exiting out my eyeballs.
Like a crazy person, I started talking out loud to her, “Gosh mom, I wish you could see the girls now, and how I started this little thing called Village Well, and how we painted our house…it’s really incredible, all of it. I think you would be so pleased.”
My next thought was this: my mom was only 20 years older than I am right now when she went Home.
I was just innocently walking, and then I spontaneously started crying.
So if you find yourself with this deep missing of someone you love who is no longer here, there is an open seat next to me. I'm saving it for you. That’s how grief works.
I love you,