I feel like I’m wandering through life these days. Mentally, that is. After my mom’s passing, stress-induced adrenaline and the need to react forced me to survive the first week afterward. Since then, I’ve been in a bit of a fog.
I’ve been thankful for the habit of living. Just the routine of living truly is helpful when one is grieving. I have to sleep, eat, be a mom, work, take care of dogs, talk to Todd about his day and our schedules, go to appointments, respond to emails, sign permission forms, pay bills, shower, help with projects, read the mail, clean, and so on. Going through these motions has been very meditative and comforting.
Amidst the routine of life, I’ve given priority to alone time. Time just for me to think, pray, read, journal. My front porch has become my sanctuary. Each morning after dropping the boys off at school and before I get on the computer to do actual work, I spend time on the porch with myself.
My mom is all around me on that porch.
We have a wicker sofa on the porch that for an entire year sat cushionless. The boys and I would put quilts and pillows on it to make it comfortable. This drove my mom crazy. She wanted so badly for that sofa to have real cushions. The dimensions are odd so we couldn’t just go buy cushions. They had to be tailor-made. My mom kept encouraging me to find a local upholstery shop, but I couldn’t find the time. So unbeknownst to me, between her helping me with the boys and attending her many doctors’ appointments, she investigated upholstery shops in my town, measured the sofa, and ordered cushions. She and my dad gave them to us this past Christmas. So now, every time I sit on that couch, I’m so grateful for her persistence and fortitude. And for her, in general.
The greenhouse at the middle school where I taught has an amazing plant sale each spring. Each year, my mom and I would go together and buy hanging plants, vegetables, annuals, perennials, and other vegetation to plant, eat, or display. This past May, we both bought Wandering Jew plants because the agriculture teacher told us they are beautiful, resilient, and productive. Much like my relationship with my mom. My Wandering Jew is still absolutely lovely, and it offers me so much peace.
When we were at the beach for my mom’s service, my sister, dad, and I wanted to purchase something as a keepsake that we could look at or use daily in remembrance of my mom. As a lover of pottery, the sea, and coffee, I had no trouble selecting what I wanted. This coffee mug has become my favorite. In fact, it’s the only one I’ve used for two weeks. I know I’ll revisit my other favorite mugs someday, but right now, I’m a little attached to this one.
My mom loved hummingbirds. She and my dad always put feeders around their yard to encourage the hummingbirds to visit. I’ve never seen a hummingbird on my front porch but the other day, one came and hovered ever so briefly right in front of me. It felt so serendipitous, like God was telling me my mom was okay.
As I’ve said before, this thing called grief is a process and a journey. And just as my hanging plant continues to wander, so too shall my mind until it feels ready to settle and focus.
And as the saying goes, ‘Not all who wander are lost.’