Today was the first morning in a long time that I pulled myself out of bed before everyone else. I used to pride myself on the fact that I woke up at 5:00 am and accomplished two hours of work before the rest of the house began to stir. Since my mom passed away, however, it’s been very hard to get out of bed. In fact, my alarm clock recently has been two little boys jumping on me, which admittedly, is a pretty cute alarm clock.
Sleep is truly beautiful to those who are weary. It offers a reprieve from racing thoughts, and it repairs the body. I’ve learned that during a time of grief, every single nook and cranny of the body becomes utterly exhausted.
But something else has been happening from my extended sleep that seems to be exacerbating my already-stressed state of being. My morning quiet time has always been my way of feeling prepared for the day ahead. Whether I work, pray, write, read, prep my bullet journal, or pay bills, something about those early morning work hours results in a more productive day. Now that I’m waking up after the rest of the family, I’m feeling frazzled. I know I need the rest, but I’m learning that I also need other things to function in a healthy way.
As hard as it is to get out of bed these days, I’ve got to start doing it. It’s a seemingly small thing that I know will have a big impact.
Yesterday, we dug up a Japanese maple tree so we could move it to a more conducive location. It took a lot of people to lug it across the yard. Case stood by and supervised. We finally got it moved, and now our fingers are crossed that its roots will take hold in this new place.
The Japanese maple had already rooted itself deeply where it was. It didn’t want to move. One could tell this by how many small and large roots it had already developed where it was. We forced the tree to move.
I feel like the tree and I are kindred spirits. All of my roots were connected to my mom and the person she and my dad raised me to be. So many small and large moments throughout my every day remind me of and make me think of her.
I called on her constantly to ask about a recipe, talk about holiday decorations on sale at Michaels, tell her the exact time we should meet at the Apple Festival, ask her how she was feeling, laugh about something cute one of the boys said or did, suggest a book or hear about one she was reading, chat about Good Morning America or Dancing with the Stars, plan our next trip to see my sis in DC, and so on and so forth.
Like our tree, her death forced me cut many roots. I feel like I live in a new world now. A world where I must cherish the roots that have always been while creating new roots in this new life.
It’s true that as long as your mom is around, part of you feels like a child. Once she’s gone, you suddenly feel like you must grow up very quickly.
I thought about the tree all day yesterday. None of us liked what we were doing to it, but it was getting choked at the other location and couldn’t grow much larger where it was. One side of it was already stagnating. Its new location will allow it to breathe and stretch. But I have to say, the sound of those roots being pulled up was troubling.
I’ll be praying for our Japanese maple and for myself as the two of us navigate our new normals, as we both create new roots that will hopefully make us stronger than we were before. It’s never easy to be jerked from a comfort zone but if there’s really no other option, all we can do is grow in the new space and honor our old roots for strengthening us when we were at our most vulnerable.