These days are closing in on my heart in ways that make me stop, step back and regroup. I had to talk firmly to myself in the doctor’s office this afternoon because I suddenly was crying and the tears were dripping off my chin in a most unflattering matter. Even though I couldn’t see, I’m pretty sure people were looking at me.
There are a thousand reasons for tears, I suppose. There are family issues that trouble me. There is much uncertainty over our Cecilia and Medicaid’s strange regulations. The broader church family has issues that make me shake my head, scratch my head (and sometimes hold my head in my hands in despair or shame or sorrow — or all three!). There are people who speak Jesus with their mouth and something else entirely with their walk, shedding a skewed view on the Light that sets men free. I have a rebellious right foot that seems to have decided to keep up with my crazy wrong — I mean left foot in giving me grief I told Eldest Daughter, Middle Daughter and Beloved Niece, Holly that I’ve been hobbling around like “an old woman” to which Eldest Daughter, in an attempt to comfort me said, “Well, Mama, you have every right to hobble around like an old woman. You’ve earned it!” (Really, Chris? What is that supposed to mean???) It’s full moon, and Our Girl Nettie (whom I just bragged was doing so well) got hit with the Green Eyed Monster at her day program and thinks the world is against her, that she isn’t being treated right there because they won’t let her do “the shredding.” I think I must have told her too often that she is the smartest and the prettiest one there because she is suddenly feeling entitled. And that’s not even everything!
(So yes, there seems to be plenty to trigger the tears.)
However, I think the main thing that is squeezing my heart so hard that it makes the water stand in my eyes is this whole season that we are in — these days when we mark the anniversary of Sweet Mama’s last four weeks on this earth. Everywhere I turn, I keep seeing pictures of her. This one caught my heart especially, taken by my sister in law, Polly Yoder, and so, so typical of Sweet Mama with the babies of her family.
My Sweet Mama, my younger brother, Mark, Jr., Mark’s youngest son, Timothy, with his newborn son, Travis. This picture was taken about a year before she passed away.
Sweet Mama loved babies. I remember how excited she always got when she was getting ready for the births of my youngest siblings. She would sew little flannel kimonos for them, and lay in a supply of Baby Magic. She sewed those old fashioned “belly bands” for wrapping tightly around the newborn’s tummy to keep the baby from getting an umbilical hernia. She had her babies at home, so she would make supplies for the birth that could be taken out and burned before inquisitive eyes would wonder just what sort of mayhem had gone on in this birthing business. She confided to me that she “dreaded” the labor and delivery, but there was never any question as to whether she loved her babies.
This picture started the tears all over again. Yes, I KNOW she’s okay! I KNOW I’ll see her again, but I miss her! And there are so many things that I wish I could tell her tonight — like happy news of Clint and Sharon’s engagement (Wouldn’t she have a heyday with that exciting news?) or about Lem and Jessica’s pregnancy, or Tyler and Amy’s new baby boy, and all the “woman details” that we like to know. She loved to hear about the love affairs of her grandchildren. She felt sorry for them in their broken hearts when that happened and aggravated when they were the heart breakers. Life news — babies, love, engagements, weddings — these were the things that she loved to hear and talk about.
What I wouldn’t give to be able to call her up or stop in and just talk awhile! TWICE this week I dialed her number when I was trying to call someone else. I don’t think I’ve done that even once in a YEAR! It’s like she’s sitting on my subconscious, saying, “I was wishing you would call! I haven’t heard from anyone ALL DAY!” The truth is, if we were even able to bother her, she probably would answer in that short, clipped way of hers that she would use when she didn’t really want to be bothered. Remember that, siblings of mine? It was this unmistakable, short off sort of way, and we knew that she was either involved in something else or talking to someone else or aggravated about something and could hardly be bothered to answer the phone.
Two years. Sometimes it seems like yesterday and other times it seems like decades. And there is no “fixing” this in any satisfactory way. It’s just another bump in the road of life, reminding me again that it we did not come here to stay. It’s a reminder that Heaven is not all that far away, and there is so much more to LIVING than here and now, It’s a reminder that the time grows short.
Maybe I have earned the right to hobble around like an old lady.