Author’s Note: After Mama passed from here to heaven, I thought I was done posting about her. I was wrong. Because of the abundance of her whole life, there will be more Mama and Me posts. I hope you enjoy them.
My first Mother’s Day without her hurt more than I thought it would, but all of this journey into grief does. As she faded and suffered, I assumed I was ready for her to leave even though I knew it would hurt. But I had no idea it would be like this.
And spring. Who knew that not only first holidays would be rugged. . .but also first seasons?
Spring without Mama is sad. And not. Because because she’s gone, but her fading and suffering are over. (That is NOT a cliché nor is it easy to say – it is a difficult truth.) And greater still: she is with Jesus. The King of her soul.
But that’s not all. There is an old and new kind of joy in my heart all because of dandelions.
Like every other year, they have arrived in abundance. At first glance, it’s easy to see a patch of weeds that need to be removed because they might take over.
But they are so much more to me.
I remember blowing their soft fuzziness into the breeze, and believing their carried my secret wishes to God. Yeah – I know I was assisting in their re-planting, and God isn’t about wishes but, He understood my wishes were my little girl way of praying. And you might catch me spreading a little dandelion cheer now and then these days.
Even now, the memory of dandelion wishes dancing on the wind is dear.
And then there is the art. Really. In the dandelion is a beauty like no other. It belongs to them alone.
The sadness will always be in my heart, but it’s not the only thing there. Each day God comforts my wounded soul. When He does this, it feels a lot like Vaseline she used to put on my terribly skinned knees. I’d come running to Mama my sobbing because gravel embedded into tender skin hurts, and even a little bit of blood is scary when you’re little. After cleaning out the debris, she sprayed them with Bactine and then quickly blew the medicine dry before finally applying a dab of petroleum jelly to the sore spots. Finally, she put the Band-Aid in place with gentle pats to be sure that the sticky parts stuck.
Her breath was its own kind of comfort, and with a kiss on the cheek, I was well on my way to healed.
Mama loved flowers and I was certain that meant she loved dandelions too. Imagine my delight when I learned I was right.
Looking back, I see my sticky, pudgy little hand full of bright yellow blossoms. I feel my legs walking fast (sometimes running) to take them to her. My entry into her presence was exuberant and high energy. I had something good for Mama!
I can still see her bending toward me, eyes glad, and her lips smiling as she reached out her lovely hand to take my freshly picked bouquet. If there were some sweet violets to add, it was even lovelier. I know this because she said so. I waited while she carefully added each offer of love to her Dixie cup line-up on the kitchen windowsill. I’d clap my hands, accept her tender kiss on my cheek, and race back outside to play my heart full to the brim with the blessing of giving her my very best. Yep – I’d done really good!
In my twenties, I heard another adult say about dandelion bouquets, “Well, they’re all a kid can afford, and because they’re free, they’re easy to throw away.”
I felt sad for her. She missed the point completely. It wasn’t about affording it – it was about Mama and love. And even though the blossoms didn’t last long, God put lot of them out there so I could replace them easily – how cool is that?!
Mama saw past the blossoms whose stems were a little on the smashed side and violets already drooping a bit and saw my bursting-at-the-seams love for her in action. One of my lines was, “I picked the prettiest ones for you!” She’d smile and say, “The prettiest one is you!”
Is it any wonder I had the confidence to swing really high, sing at the top of my lungs with my head thrown back, and smile at the world? Nope. I had Mama’s love and acceptance. There was and is an incredible power in that.
This spring my heart is tender under the weight of sadness, and the gentle force of her enduring love.
I look at the dandelions and violets and am grateful for Mama. She’s healed and with Jesus. The One she loves above all others. Yes, loves. That’s not a typo. Mama was here, and now she’s there, and she still is. I rejoice in that truth.
On my first Mother’s Day without her, I smiled far more than I cried. Because before the dementia stole her from us, she asked me to do that. And as often as possible, that’s one way I can continue to honor her.
As I wrote that, I felt a sigh in my heart and the words, “It’s the best I can do,” whispered across my mind. Then, a funny thing happened; in my memory I heard her gently say (as she did so many times), “Do your best. It will always be more than enough.” And so I will. Until I see her again where He is.
Between now and then, I love the memories of dandelions, Dixie Cups, and wishes.
John 14: 1-3 (NIV)
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Until Next Time,