Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holidays and Missing

With Thanksgiving and Christmas, I find that I think about and miss my mother more than I normally do.  I don't think that it ever goes away, it just becomes more acute during the holidays.  To explain why, I have to tell you a little about what my mother was like.  By the time we lived in India she had had four children.  My brother was a few months old when she fell in love with and then adopted Sabrina.  They went on to adopt another, a boy who is now 13.  When I came home from college, I never knew who would be living in the house.   A single mother, a down-on-his-luck young man, a young lady who needed someone to care... our house was full, whether it be children, or adults.  My mother never raised her voice-I mean never (okay,maybe twice).  She was incredible loving.  She almost never wore make-up and use to drive me crazy because she would pair a beautiful cashmere sweater with a flannel skirt.  There where two rules that are front and center that she taught me and that I continue to repeat to my children: 1. if you have nothing nice to say don't say it (she never gossiped-I try not to but I am not as successful as she was.)   2. what drives you crazy in other people, is a reflection of a characteristic that you have and struggle with - greed, pride, etc.  (unfortunately, I have come to realise that this one might also be true.)

Five and a half years ago, she was walking my youngest brother across the street to his First Holy Communion.  She was struck by a car in the cross walk.  She was able to push Chris.  I don't think that he even had a bruise.  She died soon after the impact.  I never met the man who hit her.  The six of her children have dealt with the loss in different ways.  I have felt that God has given me the gift of forgiveness.  I did not want to be angry at the man who hit her or God.  To this day, while I miss her, I have never been angry about the details of the day.  I am so thankful that we had had our daily talk earlier in the morning.

That brings me to the missing part.  My mother was an incredible cook and baker.  As the wife of a diplomat, she had made an art of it.  So, every holiday that involves food....I sometimes forget that she is not here and go to call her for a question on some recipe. Or, I start crying when I making one of her pies.  By the time the pies are made, the turkey stuffed, I have worked it out and am back to being thankful for having had her for 35 years.  It has made me more empathetic when my friends lose loved ones.  

So to the adoption part.  I wonder, too, if the experience may give me a grain of understanding as what the newest member of our family may experience around his/her birthday or other milestones.  Will he or she struggle with missing someone or somewhere, or doing something like making pies?  Will he/she even be able to articulate the feeling?  Will he/she be too young to register much?  

9 comments:

Lori said...

What a beautiful post written by a beautiful woman. Your mother left a legacy behind and her time here on earth was so valuable.

I am so sorry for your sadness and missing her so much.

Thank you for sharing something so difficult - Lori xo

emily said...

Beautiful post my friend. Sounds like your mother was an amazing woman that raised you well.

Lori S said...

What a lovely post and a beautiful memorial to your mom. She would be so proud of you!
I am proud of you for being so forgiving--something I think I would struggle with.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Adoption Cubed said...

Jen,
I am thinking about you during this holiday time. I know your mom continues to see her life and her legacy carried on through you and your family. What an amazing woman. It makes me cherish your offer to bake us cookies and comfort food because now I know where your love of cooking and taking care of others comes from. It is truly a gift.
Rebecca

coffeemom said...

This is an astonishing post. Shouldn't be a surprise I guess, but it's quite a story. I think your mother is clearly living on in you! You are still bringing the best of her to the world. Life is beautiful. Even the hard parts. Happy happy thanksgiving. M

Kristi J said...

Wow..what a beautiful story and post about your mom...She sounds like the most amazing person. I can't imagine how hard it must be to not have her around..but I'm also sure you are keeping her alive by telling her story and now adopting your self...I can only imagine how proud she'd be of you..thanks for sharing such a beautiful story, kristi

coffeemom said...

Hey, thanks back at ya for the comment! But, more importantly: Bravo to your boy! That's great news! Well done, but again, no surprise there! Enjoy your thanksgiving too! Love M

The Albertsons said...

Amazing... thanks so much for sharing your story here. I almost lost my mom to cancer 4.5 years ago. I went through how I would feel after her death, sort of preparing for it. She didn't die, but a lot of what you wrote here stirred up memories of my thoughts. I imagined feeling much like you do... not bitter, but definitely aware that a huge part of my life would be missing. I think when you share bits and pieces of your mom like this, your are spreading her love and her legacy by teaching us what she thought and how she lived. That is so valuable for so many. Many thanks to you and your mom for such wonderful advice!
May your heart be full and at peace this holiday season...
with love...
becca

HeidiD in CT said...

Thanks so much for your beautiful post. As I read it on Thanksgiving night (and have been complaining in my head all the reasons I don't love this holiday like many others do), it gives me pause and makes me realize, that I do have MUCH to be thankful for. It's not about the cleaning, thank yous and silly annoyances, it's about taking time to live in the moment. Happy Thanksgiving!