Yesterday we went to the river. During floating season, there are people all over the place and river ‘sounds.’ Things like: laughter, chit chat, boat motors, dogs barking, car doors shutting, music playing…
Currently, on the Current River, it’s the quiet time. The temperatures are cold in the water and in the air. I don’t mind the busy season, but I sure love the ‘nobody’s around you can hear nature’ time.
For instance, last night we were the only people there. For me, that brings nature back into sole view. Details called out. I noticed. There were pine trees swaying in the wind, leaves on the snow, pine cones sitting on overlooked paths, and my truck hood acted as a mirror.
On the way out, we were paused by a tree that crossed over the road. A gift really. A ‘slow down moment’ in days filled with hurries. So we did it, we paused.
After going around it, I found myself looking, for color in the trees, for something that would demand a camera, or something that would make a stellar photograph.
Nothing really stood out ahead, but when I looked back perfection and grace were wearing the same coat.
My side mirror gave me a glimpse of what truck windows would notice, if they did such things. I stopped and got out. Here’s what I saw:
Glimpses of nature on some random Friday, filled up my lens, eyes, and heart with abundant gifts. Love when that happens.
A couple of years ago, there was a big craze with jars. Dried cookie ingredients in a jar, put gratitude on pieces of paper and stick them in a jar, salads in a jar, mason jars as gift holders, and more.
Yesterday, I received one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever seen! A ‘plant a bulb’ in a jar.
Like a flower bulb.
In a jar!
I’ve never heard of such a thing. Planting bulbs in the ground? Oh yeah, done that. In a jar? How fun!
Christmas was looking to be a hard one without my momma. So guess what one of my besties did? She found out that Amaryllis means ‘sparkle’ and she sent the bulb jar to me.
How sweet is that?
Because honestly, I haven’t felt very sparkly lately. Crying takes the shine right out. And, I’ve been doing my share of tear dropping recently.
Sparkle in a jar?
That grows and blooms into a gorgeous red flower?
Thank you, SanDee, for the pick-me-up. It makes me want to plant sparkle bulbs all around my ten acres. What a beautiful show that would be.
Love when friends ‘show up’ on days- well, on any days and all days. The ones in the beginning, the messy middle, and whatever kind show up after.
She’s been there for me and with me through so-much-stuff. Buckets full. Before my momma went in the hospital. During the devastating 10 days of tough diagnoses and all the days since my momma made her heavenly trek.
Sometimes, being in this, this parent loss thing, some things feel like an end. The thing I love the most about her gift?
It’s the beginning
of a life
tucked up in a bulb.
I took some pictures of it so you can see. The directions say that the roots take 2 weeks to develop, then in 6-8 weeks it’ll bloom. Then, the flowers are said to last 2-3 weeks.
That’ll put it blooming on the year anniversary when I lost my momma. She passed away March 26, 2022 at 11:11 pm. It’s already making a hard day better. In March!!! ❤️
Here’s to flowers and friends and things that show up and work out when we aren’t even looking for them. I’ll take those sparkles- now and in 3 months!
Nine Christmas Eve’s ago, my cousin’s mom suddenly passed away, leaving us all shocked and devastated. In the nine years since, I have paid attention to how she has navigated the loss of her beloved momma.
Although I didn’t quite understand her loss, I tried to be there for her. One thing that I noticed was that she didn’t stuff the loss down to deal with it later. In my eyes, she bravely stepped right into the loss of “holy sh*t, I’ve lost my mom, what am I going to do?”
I don’t know about you, but when a friend or relative loses their mom/ parent, I pay attention. There are lessons that live in someone else’s experiences. I hadn’t been IN her shoes, but when she talked about her days that came with her loss, I listened.
I still do.
A couple weeks ago, she said something monumental to me. It was about her view of grief. She’s nine years in, to mom loss.
I’m nine months in.
Her words were soothing and healing, instantly.
I’ve tried to write about it for two weeks. I’ve typed, backspaced, typed, backspaced. Words jumbled up. Couldn’t get them out in the way that I wanted.
Well, not everyone understands the roads we are on.
Some do. But, everyone?
No, not really.
Writing about loss and vulnerability is sooooooooooo hard. It’s somewhat edgy. Talk about it a little and it’s acceptable. Talk about it a lot and it’s ‘you’re grieving too much.’
Vulnerability is like a coat that nobody wants to put on. A hundred and fifty degrees below zero and there’s a coat of vulnerability laying there? Forget it, I’ll freeze.
With vulnerabilities come shame. Being nine months into mom/parent loss, I can see why people don’t talk about losses.
Grief isn’t discussed much. Sure, people throw out lines of “take your time”, “everyone grieves in their own way”, “deal with it however you need to’ while at the same moment, there seems to be an invisible time limit on when someone’s grief is enough and they should just move on or that there’s some particular way to get through it.
Twice this week, I’ve felt judged about my mom loss. That I’m not doing it right or I’m taking too long. If I just move on, my holidays won’t be hard.
Grief with stipulations…
Writing about the last nine months has been a gift, a privilege, and a heartache all at once. I write because I know that I am not the only one dealing with loss.
My hope is that if someone somewhere reads my words, that maybe they’ll find a smidgen of comfort or something that makes them feel a tiny bit better.
Loss with stipulations?
It does not work for someone like me, who is in it.
Stipulations only add to an already overflowing plate.
And, hey, I get it.
People mean well. Nobody wants anybody to be sad. I’ve said similar things to people myself to try to help them feel better fast.
Now I see that it really doesn’t work. It probably just pushed them away…
Yesterday, I cried most of the day over feeling like my grief is taking too long and that I’m not doing it right,
Most. Of. The. Day.
It was prompted by the phrase: ‘ohhhhhhh, you’re not doing very well, are you?’
Very well compared to what? That started kicking up self doubt like you wouldn’t believe.
What I’m getting at here, is that being open about how momma loss feels is super tricky. Do I have to talk about it? Not really. Would grieving quietly be better? Safer? Perhaps.
Hmm… trade vulnerability for quiet healing?
Maybe I should…
On the other hand, look at this space that sharing my journey has created here!!!
It includes things like:
being able to share similar stories
real honest to goodness compassion showing up
a place to talk about sad days, sudden tears, and hard moments
connecting to others who are in loss too
learning from each other
stumbling around in how to write after being so open
being transparent and being met with kindness and support
opening doors to conversations about parent loss
peeling off layers of crusted up, protective hearts (including mine) to let some things out and in
tossing old stories of time schedules in grief to the curb
opening the heart for new ideas instead
I think I’ll just stick to what I’ve been doing. Sharing. Because if I cry for a day, I cry for a day. The best I can tell, putting myself out there is making me stronger, too.
Just got home from checking on the booth. Before going in, I asked my kiddo how we’d feel if we sold nothing. He replied that we’d feel great! Indeed!
The doilies, potholders, hankies, and books seemed to fit right in. They sure give it a warm ‘pull up a chair and we’ll drink tea while visiting’ feeling. Sort of rooted, in a way. Not quite how sitting at a grandma’s kitchen table feels, but down home.
I thought I’d show you how it’s coming together.
P.S. We’ve had the booth one week and a piece of my art made it into the world!! How exciting! I’m so grateful!
When my kiddo went to kindergarten, I missed him sooooo much that I had to have something to do. His school had a very wonderful nurse who needed help with the Free Store.
The Free Store was a place where people could drop off clothes donations. It was set up as a place where the kids at school were provided clothing, if they needed it and for local families if they needed items for foster children or really fast placements.
When I started volunteering there, the place was a mess. Eventually, I got it all sorted and cleaned out and up. Although it wasn’t a real store, it resembled one.
On certain days, volunteers brought kids who needed clothing over and they got to shop. You guys, they were so excited! Everything we had was used, but they didn’t care. Another volunteer and I had the clothes all sized and on hangers, so they could go right to their sizes.
One time the principal at one of the school buildings told me that some of those kids were SO happy that they got to go shopping! Kind of like we do when we go to the mall or a new clothing store.
Then, I found out that some of the kids had-never-been to a store with clothes in it. Not even to Walmart. My heart cracked into a million pieces.
So, what did I do?
I made them their own store, in their school building.
I took real round clothing racks in, size tags, shelves, hangers, and more. I set it up as a beach shop. I made a huge mural on the wall with brown paper, fish cut outs, and nets. With chalk, they could draw on it.
On the door, I made a sign, like they’d see at a real shop. Our “store” wasn’t for all kids, it was for kids who needed a little help or didn’t have any clothes or had never been shopping.
It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been apart of in my life.
Back at our other building, I had a list of kids ages, and when clothes were donated, I’d go through them and make clothes piles for the kids. That was really fun to pick out in-style clothes for them.
One day, someone donated a pair of little red tennis shoes. The old fashioned kind. Soooooo cute. I kept one to remind me why I volunteered to help those kids and I gave the other one to my friend.
I’d forgotten all about the school stuff until the other day. While I was looking for vintage potholders from eBay to put in my new booth, I saw the cutest thing!!!
How cool is that?! I had to have it!
Love when something suddenly brings back memories that warm the heart.