One of the “20 things” I want to do is to visit the cemetery more. I used to go regularly after she first died and then I moved to the East Coast, for 8 years. That brought the visits to a halt. Since I moved back here to California, I havent gotten back in the habit of visiting. Which is ok. Not everyone needs to go to a cemetery to remember their loved one. But I started thinking about WHY I wasnt going, was it avoidance of the emotions it might bring up? Or laziness? And really, do I even need to go? Or do I feel connected to her in other ways and in other places? All questions I would like to explore.
So, when my Mom’s birthday comes up on December 30th, I ask my best friend to head to the cemetery with me for a little picnic.
It was a beautiful day and it went exactly as I had hoped. We both brought blankets and snacks and had a little picnic at my Mother’s grave. We both even made a small cake. Dorothy takes such good care of me, baking something just in case I was too upset to get it done myself. But I really enjoyed baking a cake, maybe its because it brings a normality to the occasion, this is what I would do for anyone I loved, this time it just happens to be for someone who is no longer here.
We made a nice little spread by her headstone and just ate and talked, and ate and talked. We didnt talk about my Mom too much or about anything sad. Dorothy is one of the few people that actually KNEW my Mom, and loved her almost as much as I did. What I wanted was to just BE there, to visit the last place I left her, and to spend a couple hours in my friend’s company. I felt good, I felt happy.
Once I dropped Dorothy off home is when the sadness started to creep in. Oh god, I MISS HER. I was suddenly aware of this HUGE HOLE in my heart where she once was. There is no one like my Mom, noone that makes me feel like she did. Ugh, this is HARD.
This is where the first hints of worry set in about completing this “year of 20”. It dawns on me a little, that part of the reason I stopped going to the cemetery, stopped doing things that remind me of her, are because they HURT! Her absence hurts. And I dont want to feel it, because if I let it in too much, I dont know what will happen.
Do I really want to spend an ENTIRE YEAR doing things like this? Do I really want to tap into the dreaded emotions of missing her? And then I took a deep breath, and the pain passed a little. I just thought of what a beautiful day it was and how I wouldnt have wanted to be ANYWHERE else.
YES, I want to complete this year. I am welcoming in the waves, the ups and downs. I welcome the opportunities to miss her because only by experiencing the sadness, can I also let in all the joy and community I have been lacking.
So, I suppose the year has officially begun. Celebrating the 19th birthday since I last held her and heard her voice. I love you so much Mom. Happy Birthday.