Sunday, February 2, 2014

Finding mom

Last night, I started to turn my focus around from grief to gratitude. It's important to move through the weightiness of the grieving process (which really never completely ends) and start to lift your head up again in search of signs of light.

My sister sent me an email yesterday about how she noticed that no one had signed up to bring flowers for the altar for her church service today so she decided she'd just make it happen. Once she got to the store to buy flowers she realized it was mom's birthday in two days. 

My first thought was that this special moment was a gift from mom. "I'm still here. You'll find me in the things you do for others as I always did." 

It got me thinking about how I often focus so much on the baggage from my father that I miss the places where my mom shines in me. She has been lost these past few years. Hidden under a lot of pain and sadness. And resentment, too. Resentment for the mess she left me when she died. 

As I've been moving through the grief process, I've been letting a lot of anger go. I'm finding now that one doesn't need to place blame when things don't go right. Sometimes bad things persist no matter how hard you throw love at them. Good intentions - mom's and mine - couldn't permeate a solid wall.

As of last night I made new good intentions. Instead of pointing to pieces of me that I don't like I decided to start finding mom in what was good about me. 

Fast forward to today.

Every Sunday after our church service, someone in the congregation hosts social hour. It includes coffee, tea, juice and snacks. Today social hour was hosted by the church's high school group with help from the adult facilitators. 

If you've read previous posts you'll remember that I help to facilitate the group and have been a one-on-one mentor in our church's Coming of Age program for teens. Having been an awkward, marginalized teen myself, I find that I can relate to and help teens in a way that I can't with younger children. Volunteering with the church youth is, hands down, the greatest feeling of fulfillment I have in my life.

At social hour the mom of one of the high schoolers talked to me about the Coming of Age program for her son and then shared that he planned to request me as his mentor next year. I was so touched by this that I choked up and could not immediately respond. 

It wasn't just that I felt that this was validation for my volunteer work, it was that in that moment I found mom. 

"I'm still here. You'll find me in the things you do for others as I always did."