I was in the grocery checkout line picking up some last-minute items for dinner. It was Sunday and our first weekend of skiing and trying out our new seasonal rental was coming to a close. I was tired, but feeling good with all of the fresh air and renewed friendship that had transpired over the past two days. As I was piling my items onto the belt something to my right caught my eye. I turned and there in front of me were miniature rosebushes, the kind you see this time of year in the stores. In that instant my mood fell and I began to cry. Not big sobs but my eyes welled with tears.
A tiny rosebush, similar to this one, was the last gift my sister Roxann and I gave to our mother before she passed away last February. A small token meant to provide comfort and perhaps help guide her way to heaven. At least that was a tale we had heard.
When my mother died, I was more than ready for her to leave this earth. She had been struggling with dementia for years and had spent the last six of them either living with me or near me. During those years I was the one who watched, almost daily, as she slid into dementia. Consequently, I knew she was ready and most of her children agreed, that her struggle with this life should end. After she passed and the initial exhilaration of having more free time ran out, I found myself grieving for the mother I once knew. I grieved for the mother who taught me to cook as I stood in a chair in the kitchen stirring tomato soup. I grieved for the mother who found her calling working with students as a teacher and counselor. I grieved for the mother I had hoped I would connect more with me as an adult, but we never quite got there.
Grief is a funny thing. You can be enjoying yourself and the next moment, because of a song, or a scent or a rosebush, your mood changes and you find yourself sad and crying. Causing those around you to worry and question what has just happened. These moments also make me, at least, realize I am not doing as well as I thought; that my recovery over the loss of my mother will continue to take time. Memories remain with us for our lifetime, both the good and the bad. But, I hope, with time, my sadness will wane and my memories will become more of gladness as I remember the special moments my mother shared with me.