I went to a viewing and a funeral this week. It was for my cousins step-mother. I didn’t know her well. I went to support my uncle and cousins. Funerals are never easy, and since I’ve been to several, unfortunately, I knew what to expect. What I didn’t expect was the flood of emotions I would experience when I walked into the room. It was the same room my own mom’s funeral was in 20 years ago this year.
I’m thankful that I’m pretty good at processing information in the moment. It’s after the moment that things usually hit me. As I looked around the room, I was struck with the vivid memories that came crashing into my mind. I could actually see where people had taken seats at my mom’s viewing and funeral. It was as if my mind was stamped with an indelible ink of pictures from the past. I’m thankful for that because it was a reminder of how much she was loved. And a reminder of how much my family was loved. As I watched people interacting with each other in this room this week, I was caught off guard with what seemed like movie reels playing in my mind. I could recall with vivid details people coming up to me at my mom’s funeral…asking what had happened because she was gone so suddenly.
I feel for my uncle and cousins this coming week. This is when it gets the hardest…when everyone goes back to their own lives while yours feels like it is in shambles. I hope that they can find peace in the memories of their loved one. I pray that the fact that she lives on in their hearts will bring them comfort. It will never go away…but it does get easier.
It was still daylight when my sister and I left the funeral home. Dealing with the memories of our mom’s funeral, we felt the need to visit our old neighborhood. It was close to the funeral home so it seemed like the perfect time to do so.
My sister snapped this picture as we drove by the home we lived in together the longest. It still looks the same after all these years. You can barely see the chains hanging from the ceiling of the porch that holds a porch swing. I loved that swing. As kids, we would swing so high on that thing. I spent a lot of time on that porch. It was bittersweet seeing it again. As we drove around taking in the sights, we got to an area of the neighborhood where a lot of our friends lived. We knew that one such friend was living there again taking care of his elderly mom who doesn’t want to leave her home. We saw lights on so we decided to do a surprise visit. His face was priceless when he opened the door. We are friends on Facebook, but I haven’t seen him in person for over 25 years. We stood in his yard for about a half hour reminiscing about the “good ole’ days.” We talked about how the neighborhood has changed, but in some ways stayed the same. We talked about all the crazy things we did as kids. And for a brief moment in time, all was right in the world. I was transported to a time when everyone I loved was still a part of my physical world and it was magical.
Mother’s Day will be arriving in a few days. It’s a tough holiday for me. It’s a reminder that the person I celebrate is no longer here with me. When hard things happen in life, you turn to your mom. It’s been hard not having her here to be part of this journey. I know without a doubt that she would love and accept my son. I’m not sure how she would feel about what I’m doing with this part of my journey as she was a private person. I can only hope that she would approve and be my cheerleader like she was for so many other things for me when she walked this earth.