Tuesday will mark six years. Six years since my mom became one of heaven's angels much too soon. For six years, I have carried her memorial card with me in my purse. It's traveled with me to Mexico, road tripped through the Southwestern United States, and even to the beach in Jamaica. It's tattered, torn, and most recently gone through the washing machine. It's latest journey should have been to Arizona however, I didn't realize it was still in the pocket of my purse that went through the washer and that is where it was found when we returned home. At first the thought of not having this piece of paper with as I traveled to watch my brother marry the girl of his dreams, crushed me. I was supposed to carry that sentiment with me. It should have been there. It's been with me this long, why didn't I make sure it was with for this trip? I always had it in an interior pocket of my purse. Every moment. Every day. I never looked at it but it was always there. With me. Next to me. When I first opened the pocket and noticed the damp paper, my heart sank. I felt like I let someone down. Which is dumb, because who was I letting down? No one knew I carried that with me all this time. Some probably would have told me that I was crazy for doing so. However, as I carefully opened the card up and the pages tore, my heart felt peace. A wave of "It's time" overcame me. It's time for me to let it go. It's time for me to move forward on this grief continuum. The insert of the card has the verse from Ecclesiastes "There is a time for everything". I remember picking that verse out for the memorial card because nothing else made sense to put in there. No "Don't Grieve for me Because I'm Free" poem. No picture of a lady smiling at a ripe old age who died peacefully in her sleep. No. None of that was possible. Nothing else made sense to put there except trusting God at that moment that there was a time for everything (whether we wanted to believe it or not).
The month of November has been historically a month full of pain. As soon as we round into the holiday season, it becomes the most bittersweet time of the year. Last year was a blur. We had a new baby. We traveled all over to make as many holiday appearances as possible. It felt like the five year anniversary of mom's passing came and went with minimal acknowledgement. Well, except for the beautiful Christmas ornament that my then to be sister-in-law sent me. That made it real.
But this year my November has been spent much differently. The whirlwind of moving in 25 days and immediately traveling to Arizona for a week brought us into the middle of the month with little effort. My brother's wedding was probably the hardest part of the month. The setting felt like it was from a movie. It was intimate and special. We had so many family members make the trip to join us. My sister-in-law incorporated the most beautiful memorial possible. (She is an Etsy salesperson's dream!)
I was a disaster. I'm surprised I wasn't kicked out. No, really. I would have kicked me out. I hadn't shed a tear since arriving to AZ until I was half way up the aisle with Turner and Harvey. Then my ugly, cry face came out. (Yes, it's ugly. My maid of honor told me at my own wedding. I am not a graceful crier.) My little brother was getting married and Mom wasn't there. I had felt a strong need to "mother" my brother after my Mom passed. Mom had always told us that we better be nice to each other because one day each other is all we will have. But as I watched my brother, all grown up, smile and beam with so much pride and love at his new bride, I knew he was ok. He has someone who makes him whole. Who is there for him. Who is with him every step of his crazy ass ways. Someone who finds him as humorous as Mom did. It was time to let him go too.
I would be lying to you if I said these past six years have been easy. I can't say that I'm healed. I can't say that I don't spend moments crying in the shower thinking of the "it's not fairs" and "what could have beens". But the high points have become greater and the low times have occurred less. November this year has a whole new meaning. Instead of anxiously waiting for the 26th to pass, it is marked with overwhelming love on November 9th. It is filled with family on Thanksgiving on the 28th. It ends with the joy of Friendsgiving, a 4th year tradition, on the 29th. I may never be healed but that doesn't mean the time hasn't come to make some progress moving forward.
Wishing you and yours a very blessed holiday season. Tracy