Friday, August 1, 2008

Women warriors

My favorite author is a woman named Anne Lamott. She writes the sort of funny, honest, and meaningful essays that make me feel like she really gets it, how challenging, ridiculous, and ultimately, how magical this world is. If I could have anyone over for dinner, it would be her.

In Traveling Mercies, she writes of visiting a beautiful church, I think maybe it was the Rothko chapel in Houston. In the beauty and presence of God that she feels there, she is surprised to feel overwhelmed by immense sadness. As she breaks down, she realizes that what she is feeling is grief and longing for her father, dead some ten years. Although she had believed that she had come to terms with his death, she finds that the shock of loss is just as fresh on that day as it had been many years earlier, and what she wishes for most is to just be with him once again.

I read this book a year after my mother died, and even though I cried through much of the book, it helped me tremendously. It was a weight lifted, being able to accept that I would always miss my mother, but that I could also come to a place, emotionally and spiritually, where I could feel whole again, when the anger and grief would loosen its grip on me and only emerge from time to time.

Ten years ago today, I saw mom for the last time, and I feel the weight of it again. After three years of amazing strength and inspiring courage, she finally succumbed to Leukemia. She never complained to us girls, even through everything that she suffered, and I believe that she came to a place of peace and acceptance before she died, but I know that she would have loved to stay. She told me once that her greatest sadness was that she wouldn't get to see how her three girls would turn out, never get to meet her grandchildren. That is my greatest sadness too. She would have been the best grandmother.

I had thought to have a contemplative quiet day, perhaps visit the ocean and go to a special place we went as a family. But instead, I will go to the boat races in Seattle, and celebrate with the throngs, and eat and drink and play with my beautiful baby boy. I think Anne Lamott would approve. And I think it's what mom, who truly appreciated how short and marvelous this life is, would want me to do.


Blue Tarp Girl said...

Your strength humbles me, my thoughts and prayers are with you today.

ghkcole said...

Anne Lamott is my favorite, too. I can imagine you two hanging out, having lunch. I would love to come, too.

Feel your mom inside your heart. I know you do. Hear her inside you. I know you do. It's the best we can do, isn't it?

Shannon said...

Awwww. Truly touching.

Anonymous said...

She would have been so proud of you girls.