February. It’s a hard month. It’s typically cold, grey and dreary. The sky weeps for days and my own heart lurches and sputters each morning. I attempt to kick start it, but historically I’m already running on empty in February.
This February I wasn’t 100% sure why I was gobbled up by melancholy each day. Or why hurtful words and actions that should have just phased me instead took me to my knees. Until my Facebook memories reminded me of my mother’s funeral from 6 years ago. Facebook showed me a photograph of my mother’s easel at her funeral with the painting she was working on when she died. I knew I was walking through the 3 week period of time that I had watched my mother slip away from the living into eternity only 6 years ago, but the actual dates had slipped past me in the chaos of today. But my heart remembered.
This weekend when my teenager said, “But I’m always with you, I just want to be with my friend” my logical mind knew this was spoken from a naive place, but my heart splintered. What I wouldn’t do to take back ever having said that to my mom—I’m sure I did. No teenager is immune to the folly of youth. Today I’d move heaven and earth for a moment more with my mother, to hear her voice speak my name, to walk through the mundane and the crisis’ of this life with her.
We may fill our lives with busyness that cloud our mental connection to the grief that we carry through life, but our heart remembers. This morning I went for a walk, gulped in the cold fresh air and reset myself to take mindful steps through the rest of February. I’m sure by March I will need to reset myself again to mindful living because it’s so easy to be consumed by the self imposed chaos of our lives.
My mother wanted me to finish her painting of Keegan that was sitting on her easel when she died. To me it is perfect just as she left it. I don’t paint, but my mother believed in me so much that she thought I could actually pick up where she left off for her…and in some ways, in life, I have picked up where she left off. I try to be mindful to love strangers the way she did, to fill up my children the way she filled up me and her grandchildren, to say I’m sorry, to find glimpse of joy even in the hard times, to share the lessons grief has taught me, and to tell of her life from the place of love that she wove so deeply into my being.