My Mother's Eyes
My mother’s birthday was last week. As has become the norm for me, I spent the weeks leading up to the day remembering her death. She has been gone more than five years. Five years seems like a lifetime and only yesterday, all at the same time. I was haunted by the fear and confusion in her eyes when she looked over at me and asked what was happening. As I told her she was dying, she looked bewildered, as if she couldn’t quite grasp the concept. I proceeded to describe what was happening as best I could, but she was already in a state of delirium at that point. I question my decisions for her care. Did I do the right things to ensure she had the best care possible? Did I say the right things? Did I spend enough time? But more than any question, those eyes haunt me.
My mother had green eyes, as do my children and I. Her eyes live on through us. Some days, I’m careful not to stare too long at the mirror or gaze into the eyes of my sons. Other days, it can bring comfort. Memories are fickle things that way.
Saying goodbye is hard, especially when you know it is forever. Just when I think that I’m doing well, another memory comes along to remind me of that. This year, for her birthday, I chose to focus on her journey. She loved to travel and was more at home at the beach than anywhere else. We had her memorial service at Murrells Inlet on a boat. When I let her ashes go, she swirled away in the waves. It comforts me to think of her as part of the ocean waves, the sand and wind. She became free — free from pain and suffering, and also free from a physical body. She is spirit.
When I have those thoughts, I feel comforted because I know spirit is eternal. In that sense, goodbye only means saying bye to the natural body. I feel warmth and connection where sadness used to reside. I look forward to the next hello and conversation about her grand adventures. One day, we will reunite and never say goodbye again. Until then, I can only imagine what the journey is like, but I can look into my own eyes and see my mother.
—Stacie Adams, Kids Path Counselor
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Tags: Grief Support