I would say that is one of my greatest fears in life. Let me pause here a bit. As I think about it, it seems my greatest fears are always centered on my children. Fears do no gather about myself, but rather target my children. Such is the life, the battle, of parenthood. It seems natural to battle fear when you love something so much and that something or someone is beyond your control. I’ve heard it said our children are our hearts beating outside our chests. I believe that’s true. We hurt when they hurt. We cry with them. We laugh with them. We work so very diligently to ensure they have the best of what we can give. If our thoughts, prayers, words of affirmation, instruction, and correction, if all of the weight we carry concerning the welfare, happiness and direction of our children could be quantified, counted and aligned like stepping stones, I’m sure our children could walk to the moon and back each day with stones still left untouched.
But, what if, all of a sudden, all those stones fell to the earth? What do you do with all the unspent dreams of the future? What direction do you go when direction is no longer needed. How do you cope when your prayers cease to matter? What if there was no more time. Just…no more…?
How odd the realization that your child remains your “child”, whether in life or in death. It is true; I still “fear” over Grace. She is still my child. There was never a doubt my love for her would remain. Because of the depth of love, I have not minded the hurt so deeply carved in my chest from missing her that I literally cannot think, move or breathe. And where you love, you hold concern; you pause your life, stop for a moment and give thought and chunks of yourself and time to the one you love. Whether they be of this world or the next. One of my greatest fears is that Grace will be forgotten. Not forgotten by me or anyone who really loved her, but rather that “time” would become a thief who steals her name from people’s hearts and lips. Or that in time, Grace’s memory and legacy will be covered over and masked like landscape draped in kudzu. As you pass by you gaze passively over the landscape, your mind trying recover what you forgot. You know something used to be there but now, all that remains is the blurred, faint silhouetted lines of whatever lies beneath. So, not remembering, and with little concern, you move on.
I went to the Grave Yard. The Cemetery. The Memorial Gardens. The Final Resting Place earlier this week. What I am trying to convey is the level of gratitude and peace I felt when I saw the long stem roses on Grace’s grave. “THANK YOU!” to the person, or persons who left the purple roses in her vase. I wish I could communicate effectively the effect seeing those roses had on me and what it did for my aching heart. How do you convey with mere words what is felt so deeply within your bones? How do I capture the ABC’s of the alphabet soup that is my mind and emotions when it comes to living without Grace? Going to visit Grace’s grave is still the hardest thing for me to do. But, I go just to sit with her memory for a while. I sit and remember her as a child loving Barney and picking wild flowers with her pudgy little pink fist. I remember her smile and the determination of her will. I remember her laughs and twinkling eyes and her hurts, fears and tears. I go and hope that now she is happier than ever in her new place. And I hope she can’t see what is going on here. I hope there is no past in heaven, just the hope and light of the present moment. And, I go to change out the dead flowers on her headstone for fresh ones. I know fresh flowers don’t last long, especially now with the sun scorching all it touches. Needless to say, her gravesite always looks pitiful, dead and bare, especially compared to the others around it, but I don’t really care. It looks how I feel when I visit. But, Sunday’s visit held a beautiful surprise. In amongst my dead flowers were three un-expectant long-stem mystery roses. I knew they were there in honor of the anniversary of her passing. The roses were long since dead, but all I saw was gorgeous, fragrant, alive beating love. My Grace was remembered. Not forgetting is not the same thing as remembering. Grace was remembered; I held the proof in my hands. As I sat there, holding those withered petals, captivated by the motivation of their existence and appearance in the vase, my soul felt a little less withered, a little less scorched by the heat of death. I discovered as I left that day, my heart was lighter and I could breathe a little better. My fears were eased; Grace was more than not forgotten. Grace was remembered!
Again, from a mother’s heart,“Thank You!”