In my grief, my mind plays tricks on me. Whenever I’m out walking the dog and I notice a bird resting on a mailbox, I think that it’s looking at me.
“Mom,” I ask?
I like that fleeting moment of thinking my mother is checking on me, before the bird flies off. Do I actually believe that the bird is my mother? Not really. But I do believe her soul is floating out there somewhere, briefly inhabiting things that brought her joy and remind me of her.
Like the flowers I’ve planted outside of my kitchen window. With a large family, I spend what sometimes feels like an eternity washing dishes in front of that window. Those flowers bring a bright spot to the monotony of the chore.
Recently I was at our neighborhood pool and I thought someone was speaking to me when they said to a person near me, “There’s your mother walking into the parking lot.”
“Really?” I thought. My head popped up, looking and hoping with all of my heart that I would see my Mom walk into the pool.
Or the time when I had a meeting at my house and was putting out cans of Diet Coke. On the side of one of the cans, it said “MOM.”
Apparently it’s a new promotion of Coke and there were labels on other cans, such as Dad and BFF. But I first noticed the one that said “Mom.” Could it be a sign? My mother always chided my sister about her Diet Coke consumption – she worried about the chemicals. Since I lived near my mother and therefore did not stay in her home as my sister did when she came to visit from out of town, she was unaware of my Diet Pepsi habit. My sister bore the brunt of that motherly concern. Should I not serve Diet Coke? In my opinion, it is inferior to Diet Pepsi. Mom, what are you trying to tell me? Crazy, I know, but it made me laugh.
I often think I see her in the grocery store where we both shopped. It’s weird, the times and places that make you long for a person.
My father still lives in the home he and my mother made. It continues to feel like her house. Going there makes me feel close to her and very sad at the same time, as if she should be walking in the door any minute. I think it’s both a source of comfort and sadness for my Dad. How long will he keep the house? Time will tell.
So I keep looking for my mother all around me…in the eyes of strangers, the beauty of nature, the hugs of friends and family, and in my children. Mostly I guess she is within me.
Maybe someday I’ll stop looking so hard.