moving forward

Its been two years since I got the news that my Mom had cancer while sitting on a park bench, under an olive tree, on the last Saturday in June.

Last year, I was cautiously hopeful, and this year she is gone.

This bench has become an unmarked shrine for me.  When I pass by, I often sit on that bench, missing her.  Talking to her.  Remembering.

I went for a run yesterday with my dog, and intended to sit on that bench and do what I usually do, but when I went by the bench yesterday it was occupied.  A leathery, barefoot man with a thick white beard was playing a guitar.  Wrapped bundles, containing perhaps all of his posessions were piled on the bench next to him. Strangely ethereal music full of arpeggios filled the humid air as he plucked the steel strings. I stood next to him for a bit while my dog sniffed out a bush.  The transient appraised me with a bored glance and continued to play.

I thought about stopping him, thanking him for playing and telling him he was in a special place, where I found out my life was going to be different, where I still feel connected to this wondeful woman who got sick and died before her time.  But the thing was, I didn’t want him to stop playing, and there is something else…

I am not sure I believe in signs, but I’d like to think this wandering musician, this hobo angel had a message for me.  It is time to move forward.

I’ve been grieving for two years.  Grieving the loss of my mom’s health, and then her life.  My process isn’t done, but maybe its time to explore how to grieve, but to also be free.  To find some way to compromise sadness and loneliness with joy and adventure.

So, yesterday, two years after my world shook, I didn’t sit down with heavy shoulders.  I kept moving.

13 thoughts on “moving forward

  1. missjacquejoy

    Absolutely beautiful. You touched my soul today. Bravo for working through YOUR process, listening to your heart and doing what it tells you. Keep moving and keep writing.

  2. barbara snow

    Oh Katy,
    What a beautiful post. A friend of mine, who lost her mom ten years ago, told me that one of the ways she got through the worst of it was to invite her mom to go on walks with her. My friend would talk to her during the walks and said she always felt better afterwards. So now, when I walk alone, I always invite Janelle.
    Miss her. Miss you.

  3. Chatter Master

    Absolutely beautiful. Inspiring. I am sure your mom would be thrilled to know this (and does).

  4. Kathy

    You hold tightly onto hope, but it’s hard when hope turns to dispair and you know the cancer is going to “win”. I learned my mom had cancer standing in my family room, but the place that reminds me of her is a little privately owned gas station. I stopped there because the one I usually go to was crowded. This gas station is where I had my last conversation with my mom, my last real conversation. It was a Friday evening. I called her to see how she was doing. Our conversation was short, but I knew she was there, understood what we were talking about. She talked to my son too, as he was testing for his black belt in TaeKwonDo the next day. This is what she was waiting for – while my son was testing, my mom started letting go. The change in her when we saw her a day later was so dramatic. I knew she didn’t have much time, actually less than a day. Now, everytime I pass that gas station, I think of my mom.

  5. kellig

    she would be so happy for you. i know my mom is. happy that the scream of grief has quieted to a murmur, and more often than not when i think of her now, it is with a smile, instead of a clutch of sadness. xoxox to you.

  6. blessedbebeth -

    I am deeply touched by your words. Perhaps you are correct, when you spoke of this and moving forward, I got chills. The ability to hear music now when you think of your mom, in addition to sadness – sure sounds like healing to me. Thank you for sharing your story so bravely. You are an inspiration to me. Beth

  7. walkinginmyconverse

    I can truly appreciate this post. It’s now been a year since I lost my mom, and I struggle daily with feeling that I’m living between two worlds. Part of me is compelled to dive forward into my life, while another part of me is drawn backwards, clinging to a life that included my mom. I’m learning that sorrow and joy can live in harmony, but it can certainly feel confusing at times. I’ve also given myself permission to grieve forever, which somehow makes me feel better. I’m not suggesting that I want to be a basketcase for the rest of my life, I’m simply allowing myself to connect with my loss when feelings arise; I trust that this is going to be a lifelong process. It’s never going to be okay that my mom isn’t here to watch my kids grow, it’s never going to be okay that she can’t share in my life, and it’s never going to be okay that she died with so much left to give. Recognizing these feelings has helped me to move forward and find some healing. I wish you much luck on your journey.

    1. bornbyariver Post author

      I too think it will be a lifelong process… so I guess the crux of all of this is to learn to be happy while also missing Mom. Some days are easier than others, but I do know that she would want me to be has joyful as I possibly can be.


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