The leaves are almost all down now. It’s late November and only a few trees have refused to drop their coverings in preparation for the long, cold days ahead. But, there are a few stalwarts who stand stubbornly defiant against the worsening winds and icy rains. I admire them.
Late November brings that special last day of the month…….the 30th. Mom’s Birthday. This is the first one I have seen without her being alive to celebrate, and it does feel very peculiar. Even though the last several birthdays were not fully acknowledged by her, due to her Parkinson’s Dementia, there were still presents to open and a special donut or piece of pie. Tomorrow there will be nothing for me to take care of: no gift bags with tissue, no extra floral paper napkins…….nothing to do. She is gone, and there is no cause for celebration in that.
I have been wrestling with Grief for months now; on some days I win, on other days Grief takes me down to the ground and beats the heck out of me. I guess you just keep on fighting until Grief mellows into Sorrow, and you get to keep that forever.
Discovering who you are after both of your parents have died is a process. I find myself hearing their voices in my head and heart more frequently now. Sometimes I quote them out loud to myself or to my friends and family. No matter how much I might have railed against the idea in earlier years, I recognize now that I am a composite of the two of them, with my own special DNA tossed into the mix.
So, if I take the best from both, I am smart, stubborn, opinionated, strong-willed, determined, hilarious, creative, outrageous, anxiety-ridden, sentimental, loyal, and hard-working. I can feel these traits and can now more clearly see from whence they came. I am the keeper of these flames, and they must stay aglow in my heart so that I can still share them with the world.
When I tell you a joke my Dad loved, or point out a swing tune that my Mom loved, I am taking that little piece of my heart and opening it up to share with you. It is somehow comforting to know that they both continue to live in my heart forever. And I promise that I will continue to call forth their lively personalities as long as I am able. I, too, stand rather stubbornly against the oncoming icy, cold winds: Age, Diminishment, Decay. I, too, am defiant.