May 19th marked one year since my Mom’s passing.
My friend, Gaylyn, calls it my Mom’s Heaven Day. I like that so much. I have been remembering tenderly those last days and months. The way my Dad cared for my Mom with so much love. I’ve chuckled over his silly jokes, the way she laughed, thought of the good days we shared.
Saturday the 19th, I woke before dawn, changed into my running clothes and picked up my friend, Amy, so we could run the canyon. We met up with another running friend on the trail, Shelah. We talked about school, children, Boston marathons, and the sun blazing over the mountain, blinding our eyes as we ran eastward.
When I came home, I parked the car then stopped out front to take in the sight. Our irises were in full bloom and they were prettier than they’d ever been. Two weeks ago I noticed green stalks with purple tips driving up out of the ground, but on Friday, only a handful had opened. Saturday morning, however, dozens of these regal flags had flared into triumphal plumes.
A neighbor walking by said, “Where did these come from? I walk by here every day and never noticed them. It’s like they appeared overnight!” And so they had.
The moment was so peaceful. Birds singing as the first rays of sun made their way down to our spot on Wander Lane. I took a short video because the whole thing felt like a manifestation. A divine gift. A reminder that He, the greatest gardener, is over all. That Mom is well, and together, they are aware of our family, lingering close, ready to reach in, point our gaze to what matters.
Last week I posted at Segullah about all the kindnesses that have been offered me since my Mom’s passing. I especially wanted to write about this treasured gift. This portrait given to me by an inspired friend, Rebekah Smith.
Isn’t it marvelous? Isn’t she radiant? Her eyes look so alive to me. It is the perfect likeness of my Mother and I love it. I made copies for my Dad and siblings then had it framed in a burnished gold frame with a white linen matte. The white linen is reminiscent to me of the empty tomb on Easter morning.
Rebekah’s painting has an astonishing story. Truly. The way my Mother worked through her to accomplish this piece of art, this act of love. It is sacred to me and I hope you will honor it by reading at Segullah. The piece is called The Errand of Angels.
That same Saturday evening, Gaylyn left this shimmering vigil of candles on our front porch. In the box was a small Hansa bird. A tiny wren. She meant for it to be anonymous. But I saw the cracked light glowing through our front door glass and opened the door just as she was tiptoeing off the steps. Someone did this for her after her granddaughter had passed away. The image of all that light left on our doorstep was stunning. The perfect way to remember someone you love. Thank you Gaylyn.
In writing this piece for Segullah, I realized how luxuriant my angels have been. Not just angels on the other side, but angels here and now. Neighbors. Friends. Near and far. They have loved me so beautifully through this grief and have not forgotten, even a year later, that a broken heart can’t help itself. It revisits what happened those last days, those last moments. The smell of the earth, the slant of the evening light, the flowers, all remind me of that time one year ago. I feel the tears. The separation. But my angels have been there. Like so many candles flickering against the night.
Several of the comments at Segullah indicated that not everyone has this kind of love to surround them. And they are right. Subconsciously I knew that, but when I read their words, their extension of wishes, I felt embarrassed. For mentioning all this love. And I stopped to think how I would feel if I had experienced the same loss and gone it alone.
Too many do go it alone. Too many try to manage all kinds of challenges feeling cut off, friendless, and alone.
Maybe we can work to remedy that.
The errand of angels is given to all of us. To do whatsoever is gentle and human. To cheer and to bless. To look for those who need friendship, someone to steady them, someone to brighten their vision. Those who grieve (for any kind of reason) often have an unseen heaviness that continues to tug at their soul. I believe God’s spirit can tutor us; give us the wisdom we need to succeed in these errands. To see those who aren’t usually seen. Rebekah taught me this. But it takes asking. And trusting.
I heard recently that empathy is a superpower. It connects us in ways no other emotion can. When we grieve, we can sense those who feel sorry for us, those who are afraid it will happen to them, those who are compassionate, and those who know. Because they have been there. Empathy is a superhero when it comes to mourning with those who mourn. And maybe those of us who have experienced loss in a certain way can be led to those navigating that same place, bring that superpower into their lives.
I’ve been overwhelmed by the empathy, the love, the goodness this past year. But it is true; I wish everyone could feel that kind of encircling – the kind of love that literally eases your sorrow. Many of you have lifted me in the most understanding and inspired ways. And I thank you.
Maybe we can start tomorrow, by asking God what errand we can run for Him.