This I Believe

Michelle - Frankfort, Illinois
Entered on June 23, 2007

I believe that my mother is with me every day.

My mother was just 19 years old when I was born and I am her only child. We were young together. Our early days were fantastically unique. We took on the world together, and that’s just how we liked it.

From the first day of the cancer diagnosis twenty three months earlier, it was clear that remission would never be possible – it was just too late. Since that day, the inevitable outcome was very well framed up in my mind. But in the end, my mother’s death left me in shock and filled with such devastation and sadness that I was sure it would swallow me whole.

Within moments of the news of my mother’s death, I felt my husband’s arms fold over me and embrace my limp body. As the complete physicality of the pain washed over me, he spoke plainly into my ear, “she is here with you”. At that moment, my soul screaming with grief, I did not hear him.

Day after day, he repeated this haunting phrase to me. I saw the determination in his eyes. Either I would hear him or he was going to say this until his last day on Earth.

Then slowly, as the numbness began to wane, I allowed myself to listen and to truly feel my mother. More significantly, I began to let go of the absolute fear of feeling her.

Then, suddenly, she was there; pouring into me.

I began to feel her playfully nudging me in her stylistic direction while shopping for little things to decorate our home.

I started to hear her giggling at my failed attempts to grow just one tomato to its full ripeness.

I would see her eyes roll everytime I ended up patching together lumps of dough that, in her capable hands, would have become a flawless pie crust.

I began to feel her riding in the car with me, sipping her warm homemade blend of coffee and chocolate milk in the pre-dawn hours of the morning as I drove to work.

I felt her hold my hand, filled with pride, as I pushed my son’s new life into the world.

This newly formed belief was slowly transforming my grief into a mild sense of peace. A comfortable new relationship was emerging; one that is living and changing and growing each day.

When I close my eyes, I can see her now. She is restored. Standing just above me I feel the moisture of her breath as she cradles my face in her hands. She whispers into my ear and I see her soft, smiling image. As if through a translucent lens; she is slightly out of focus yet absolutely brilliant. And I’m laughing with her in a gentle slowness. I feel full and guided and whole again.

I believe we are continuing our journey together.

My mother is with me, watching me, guiding and loving me every day.