Posted in Death, Life, Mom

The early years

Mom and me many many moons ago…

If roses grow in heaven lord, please pick a bunch for me. Place them in my Mother’s arms and tell her they’re from me.

Tell her that I love her and miss her? And when she turns to smile, place a kiss upon her cheek and hold her for awhile.

Because remembering her is easy, I do it every day. But there’s an ache within my heart that will never go away.

You are missed beyond words and most days I pray for the strengths to cope with your loss.

Posted in Inspiration, Mom

Surprise, surprise

I opened Moms coloring book the other day. I had sent it to her earlier in the year as she took a liking to coloring. I had looked at it as I bought it, but the pages where kind of insignificant at the time. I merely looked at them determining if Mom would enjoy coloring them. That was all.

I opened the coloring book and on the page was a dragonfly. Surprise, surprise. Mom spoke yet again and there have been so many instances lately with the appearing of these dragonflies that I’m left in a curious nature to see where the next one will appear.

I started to color that very page, but only for a little while as it is still too painful to do for me. Doing something so personal to her at the end of her life leaves me in tears for her loss and makes me miss her even more. I had to stop ad closed the book. And here again, the very page I had started to color, was also the cover page of the coloring book, with the dragonfly symbolizing the connection with Mom.

Surprise, surprise.

Posted in Family, Life, Memories, Mom

Moments like these

I’d imagine there will be many more moments just like this one. There will always be a surprise lingering and I have found quite a few sorting through some of Moms things.

Today I found some picture from June of 1998 such as the one above of Mom and me. I was living in the states already, but was here to visit. I remember this picture and she was getting ready to walk Pookey, originally my dog but whom stayed back with her in Germany once I moved. I’m not sure how I managed that at the time, all I know is that I surely couldn’t leave my dog behind these days if I had one.

I look at this picture now and remember her taking off with the dog while I stayed behind. How I wish that I could take that walk with her now. It’s crazy that we always live a life wishing we would have done this and that, a life with regrets, but I guess it is normal. Perhaps the key is to stay conscious the best we can to have as little of those regretful moments as possible. This can only be achieved through being constantly aware of our actions and the consequences such bring. For us and for all around us.

I found something else today that pulled on my heartstrings and which dates back to before I left for the states, a long time ago, 30 some years. It’s crazy to think that she held on to it for all these years. I found notes, written notes from me to her. They are just scraps. Scratches, silly notes of communication, instructions to wake me up at a certain time, to bring me a surprise from the store, stuff like that. I think I know why she has kept them. They were written in a funny, joking way. A way Dad would have behaved, and perhaps it reminded her of him.

I have always struggled to see and feel Moms love. I’ve always needed more. I was a child fully aware of my feelings and my heart was on my sleeve from little on. I’ve always felt too much and throughout life I got hurt because of it, but also experienced beauty and bliss that can only be experienced by feeling the extraordinary and making yourself vulnerable. After Dads passing I took on responsibilities that a child nor an adult could carry and fulfill. I grew up too fast and my personality diminished while I stood in the shadow of my father trying to take care of Mom. Of course nobody could have ever filled those shoes, but as a child, even then, I felt I had to do something to bring a little light to her life. It was my mission until she died.

Today my heart burst’s as I look at these notes from a different angle. Yes, they may have reminded her of my Dad, but maybe she kept them because I wrote them and they had a special meaning without having to stand in anyone’s shadow. She stapled them all together and they were here all this time. They stayed behind in memory while I left and moved away. I never knew until today that she had kept them and I’m sure it won’t be the last heartfelt emotion I will find in what used to be her four walls and where she spent most of her life.

Posted in Death, Life, Mom

Mom – A bond that couldn’t be broken

One month ago I received the terrible news of Moms passing. It’s hard to believe that four weeks have passed, and yet it feels so unreal and hard to grasp most days. It’s a never ending nightmare with the same outcome. She’s just not here anymore, not in the physical sense anyways, but I feel her presence other times and know that she will forever be with me. Sometimes the signs are subtle, sometimes they are smack into my face and Mom has always had a way of being very direct, even blunt at times. At least with me. She didn’t held anything back and she let me have it, especially if I aggravated her in some sense.

She kept her mouth shut on most occasions, even in times when she was wronged and she never talked back about anyone in a bad or revengeful way. She wasn’t dumb and her exposure to the world was minimal, but she still knew and had a healthy take on right or wrong. She kept her feelings, her opinions to herself for the most part, perhaps to keep the peace, to not rock the boat. After all she was alone most of her life and I was far far away in another country, but when it came to me, she spoke her peace without sugarcoating anything. She was blunt and direct. Today, I know that I have inherited this from her, but my approach is a little different. I’d be lying if I said that her ways didn’t leave pain and scars behind, that they didn’t cut deep into my heart and burdened me with a heavy load most of my life. I’d be sugarcoating it to dismiss how hard these times were, how much I have chased her love and acceptance as her daughter all of my life. And yet I have never held it against her, and her being gone couldn’t hurt any more. I loved her unconditionally and she was always my Mother. It was a bond that couldn’t be broken. I pleated with her when she was strong willed and dismissed me and my feelings. I’ve never stopped trying to make her proud of me and a couple of times I even received a few glimpses of what this could feel like.

I know that in the end she has always loved me, she just couldn’t verbalize it. I wouldn’t trade our time last year and I realize how important that time was for both of us. How much closer we got, and that that love was always there. She has shown me while I grew up without my Dad in the form of providing for me and even now in her death it is still trough material and financial ways that she provides for me. It was always her way to show you that she loved you. She provided, she bought things for you. If I could choose, I’d give it all away for a one big hug and one sincere “I love you.” She managed to give me half of it in this lifetime.

So if you think money can replace love, think again because love is priceless and can not be replaced. A hug, a look, a touch of hands, a heartfelt I love you, will always be worth more then anything you can buy. Material things can make you feel good but their magic never lasts. Love fills your heart with warmth’s and a strengths that will last forever.

Posted in Death, Mom

Hello Mom

It was a few days before Moms funeral that I spent a few hours at a place in Rothenburg, called the Lotus Garden. It was a beautiful place to just be and to relax, trying to calm my mind.

Little waterways run through the small park, creating natural habitats for birds, insects and goldfish. There are plenty of sitting areas nestled into corners to enjoy a Latte from the cafe at the edge of the park. I did after I walked the small park, taking in all it’s artifacts such as the gazebos, the large Gong, and the presence of Lord Buddha honored with several statues. I loved the energy of the place and perhaps for the first time since arriving I was taking a deep breath.

While walking through the park, I reached a small red footbridge that crossed a waterway. It was lit up by beautiful sunshine that is not all that common here in Germany compared to my home in the states. I was surely going to soak it all up and charge myself with warmths and glow. I stood for a moment when something extraordinary happened and a dragonfly landed on my hand. I knew immediately that it was a sign from Mom and that she had come to comfort me.

I miss you very much and I cannot convey the pain that I feel. A bystander in the past, I have given my condolences to others, coworkers and friends who had lost a parent. My sentiments were always heartfelt and sincere, I knew their pain, but never in a million years could I have prepared for how intense this pain is. You just don’t know from an outside point of view until you experience it yourself. My heart bleeds for everyone that still has to face this some day. With no parents left, it also became apparent that you can feel like an orphan at any age.

Posted in Death, Life, Mom

At the beginning of life

Picture of little Mom and her Mother. Her life was just starting. I sometimes look at her, this little, and brace my heart for this poor little innocent soul that had no clue of how strong she would have to be in this hard life that was already laid out before her. How could her soul ever have signed up for so much pain? And how could mine had signed up to witness and see it all. I believe that our souls sign up for different lessons and maybe she needed to experience the many faces of pain and loss. Of what it means to start over and over again. Maybe my soul needed to experience what it means to love unconditionally regardless of how much time was wasted and how challenging of times there were. We had ten month that mattered the most. Ten month compared to a lifetime, and all I can say is that it is not enough.

I know that many things were never in my control to change, but I will forever wish that her life could have seen more sunny days and that we could have shared even more together. I miss you so much.

Posted in Death, Loss, Mom

Be still my heart

It’s only been last Friday that Mom was buried, but in a way it feels like an eternity learning about her death. There has been such a long, lingering pain that dates back so much further than September 28th the actual day of her passing.

October 1st, I boarded a plane, on the way to Germany, knowing full well I was too late this time and would not see her alive again. I arrived on the 2nd of October and said goodbye to a closed casket that later in the evening disappeared from my view in a Hearst, driving into the darkness.

Mom wanted to be cremated and all of the closer family knew that we better not put her in the ground with all the worms as she occasionally mentioned it in her serious manner when it came to that subject. I guess she needed to know that she was to be taken seriously and that she meant every word. All of us knew….

The urn would take about ten days to come back and there was a weekend and holiday in that timeframe as well. There were times I energetically connected with Mom, when I felt her presence and when she sent me a little sign like a dragonfly one day. (I will save this for another post soon.) Over the next days, I would always see that Hearst driving away with Mom lying live-less in her casket, going for her last ride. And the driver that nonchalantly just waived goodbye as if he was leaving a party while all of us stood in our grief.

Many of times my mind wandered to the crematorium and tortured myself with pictures of what the actual process might look like. It’s absolute horror when you are grieving and yet your mind loves to just add to the misery. It’s awful. Would I be able to accept her being gone, would it finally sink in that that person just is no longer? Would I get my closure or would my mind continue to torture me?

I wanted to know and yet I didn’t. On Monday I found out and received an official certificate of when and where Mom was cremated. It was very hard to see that certificate with her name on it and my heart hurts anew.

4th of October 2019 at 16:14

Posted in Death, Life, Mom

Our last walk together

Last Friday was Moms funeral and it was time for her to be laid to rest. Nearly three weeks had passed since she feel asleep for the last time and many of us were looking for some sort of closure, for a new way to emerge so we could go on. For myself, I don’t think I have found that path just yet. There are daily reminders here in the house and things that need to be taken care off.

Mom was with us the entire time during the service and she even brought a smile to my face at the end of the service, especially on this difficult day. Upon entering the church, Mom’s picture from her 80th birthday was displayed next to her urn, surrounded by a reef of flowers. Below were additional flowers from myself, her sister, and her four children, my cousins.

I woke in the morning and felt strangely calm. There was a peace, a stillness within me that felt almost strange. At some point I thought I was numb to the pain and perhaps my soul was protecting my physical body. Whatever it was, it was nothing like I had expected that the day might be like. I had feared the nosy gazes of onlookers that I remembered from my childhood during Dads funeral. Days before, I even had a bad dream that I had fallen carrying Mom’s urn, dropping and shattering it. All of these and more worries were gone, disappeared the day of Mom’s funeral, October the 18th.

Rain had been in the forecast off and on for the day, and the final word was that rain might fall in the hours after everything was over with. I think Mom had other plans as it came to that. The service was beautiful, a celebration of life for a woman who hadn’t always had the easiest of life. A life that was filled with tough years, a non existing childhood, a war, the loss of a soulmate, and pains many should not experience at such a young age. She was a strong, tough women, a fighter until the end, until hope disappeared and her quality of life was clouded and gray.

The inside church service concluded with a song from Westlife “I’ll see you again” that I had picked for Mom. After that it was my turn to carry Moms urn to the graveside. It was the hardest part of the service and I hugged and held her so tight. I was glad to walk ahead of everyone, for nobody to see my face and the pain that must have been all over it. It was difficult to set her down, to let go of the urn and to step away from it. It felt so final…so very final.

As soon as we arrived at the grave, ominous looking clouds started to form, swirling around overhead. I knew Mom was here and I loved that she made her presence known. At least to me and I’m not sure if anyone else had the same feeling. The winds picked up and the big tree at the end of the cemetery, next to the cross started to sway back and forth. There was rustle in the air as fall leaves were dancing through the sky. It was beautiful. Next the thunder was rolling, just as I thought it couldn’t get more beautiful. Such a sad occasion and yet I stood with my face up towards the heavens, smiling up at Mom, thinking it was beautiful. It was really quite strange, and all I can say is that I felt as if she was comforting me in these difficult moments, putting on this amazing nature spectacle she knew I could appreciate and recognize her being here. Now the lightning accommodated the thunder, the dark clouds swirling, and the leaves rustling in the wind. This went on for the remainder of the service.

After singing our last song, I stepped forward to the grave to say my goodbyes, to drop dirt on top of the urn that was already lowered, and to leave my flower bouquet with Mom. One after another from the family paid their last respects and stopped in front of me to shake my hand, say their condolences and wishes for me, or to give me a giant hug. Some of us had not seen each other in over thirty some years, but none of that mattered in that moment, that moment when we were reunited and shared this grief together. The heartfelt emotions touched my heart and one of my cousins hugged me so hard it initially took my breath away. It said everything, without words and it will forever stand out in my mind. Another hug came from another family member I had somehow angered unintentionally a few years back. We never quite reconciled, although I had tried, but here and now, none of it mattered and we were family once again. I was very thankful, grateful and moved. Lastly came a worker from the nursing home to lay down a flower arrangement and last greeting for Mom. I thought it was a nice touch and very thoughtful. That was until that very worker (which Mom never cared for her bossy ways) came up to me to say her condolences and hand me an outstanding bill that had arrived for Mom. Ha…really. It was the only thing I found rather tasteless and without any tact. That stamp to mail that bill must have been too much of an inconvenience, but oh well. It is what it is and I’m ok with it. Of course I have my own feelings about it, but this is so ridiculous, it doesn’t even deserve my energy, plus Mom took care of it anyways. Just wait until I tell you how. So priceless, so typical Mom.

Like I said she was the last one at the grave. After she handed me the bill, people we’re leaving. I had planned to stay behind for a bit longer. I looked at the skies and all the weather was still in motion. Straight ahead I could see the rain falling over the town Mom had spent her last year of life. It was moving rapidly towards me and would reach me in no time. Maybe it was time to leave as I started to feel big drops starting to fall. I made it to safety completely dry, but many did not. Within two minutes of completing Moms service and being handed the bill, it was as if the floodgates had opened without any warning. No, slower, light sprinkles, nothing, just Mom sending a message for the person that had given her so much grief at the nursing home. It was as she had the last laugh and I can hear her say something like “Don’t you dare worry about a measly bill of 7.50 euros on my funeral. What’s the matter with you.”

You are right and well done Mom 😉 I love you and miss you so much. ❤️

Posted in Art, Crafting, Mom

Mom’s Artwork

These two pictures from an adult coloring book make me smile, and were Moms latest artwork. Mom never really liked crafts and such things as coloring too much. She would have all the patience for knitting, but that was about it. She loved cooking but she wasn’t much a baker.

I was delighted as she began to color in the nursing home. I have always loved and painting and coloring is a way of peace, a relaxation for me that I was hoping she would feel as well. I hoped it would distract her and soothe her troubles and I think at times it actually did.

These two drawings were some of Moms favorite and she used to show them to me nearly every time we talked. Even before she colored them she would consult me wondering what colors would be fitting for the cat or the pig.

After she finished them, she was all smiles showing me her pink and black pig. I laughed as I saw it and she seriously insisted that there is such a thing. It wasn’t that I didn’t know about that, but I loved how her mind had created that sort of outcome. I don’t think she ever knew or understood my laughter. For all she knew, she educated me on the likes and actuality of these pink and black piggy’s.

Posted in Death, Loss, Mom

Time…

It’s almost time, and Moms funeral is on Friday. Nearly three weeks have gone by since her passing and it’s hard to believe. Everything is hard to believe, in general.

There has been no real process to the time passed. Some days are easier then others and I try to welcome and process each one. There is no right or wrong, and no timelines of where one should be in this time of grief. I think one of the biggest things I struggle with is that there was no goodbye, no closure. It feels so different now to remember that there were times when Mom got on my nerves. When I dreaded the moment of her asking me when I’d come home. I struggled so much with it because I knew it was important to her, and because I had no answers to give her. I was so sick myself. I was trying to listen to my body, to give it time, to be good and patient with myself so I could get better. And I did eventually after many month. It’s crazy where your mind goes, questioning yourself if perhaps you went too much with the flow while someone else needed you so much. I know it’s just misery and the ego that wants to torture me and despite of what everyone has told me, yet it comes down to myself and believing for myself that I did everything I could.

It’s sounds awful now thinking that there were those times. Times when Mom got on my nerve and I feared her asking that question that tore my heart apart anew every time she’d asked. Now I sort through her things from the nursing home, touching everything she once held, feeling her touch and such a loss. Sometimes I think there has to be a note to me, something, her words, anything, but there never is. Would it help if she’d said that she understood, that she was grateful and loved every minute we spent together? Would that make the goodbye more final, releasing me of the burden and the pain, or would it make it only more unbearable? It’s just so hard when you don’t get to say goodbye, when you don’t get that sort of closure. Some say it will come at the funeral but I don’t think so. It’s just a process to go through, a ritual that is performed with our lost loved ones. I truly don’t know if being by her side would have been easier, for I would have never wanted to let go of her. I would have held on to her and perhaps my heart would have broken right then and there. But this….being left behind, is so hard and one of the most challenging things you will ever have to do in your life.