Saturday, May 08, 2010
What If I'd Known?
No one told me that this picture, taken after running a 5k with my daughters the day before Mother's Day two years ago, was prophetic. This photo seemed incomplete at the time, as Joey had not yet arrived for our graduation celebration. No one told me that in twelve days, Joey would never again appear in our family photos.
No one told me when these poorly focussed pictures were taken, pictures ordinarily destined for the delete button, that they would become precious to me. Here Joey is wearing his favorite shirt, the one I wrapped myself in 12 days later, the one that carries my tears...the one I take out of the plastic bag it's wrapped in to preserve his scent so I can smell him one more time.
No one told me that I would never have this kind of carefree Mother's Day, ever again. Breakfast by the pool with my son, and with those I love the most in all the world, naive to the coming heartbreak and life-shattering grief.
As I rode this trolley back to my hotel, tired and cradling my over-tired grandchildren, I was struck with an intense wave of separation anxiety for Joey. He was on a plane back to Maui and I was still in Honolulu. I was surprised by its ferocity, and wondered why I was feeling it and tried to make it go away. Were the demons taunting me or were the angels warning me? Or was I just being a mother?
No one told me it was only the beginning and that the term "separation anxiety" barely begins to describe it.
This awkward photo seems full of warnings too...our ignorance and Joey's somber face haunt me. We seem so unaware and he seems so alone. What would I have done differently if I'd known?
Hold on and never let go. Cripple him in my clutches.
If I'd known it was our last few days together in this life, we would never have had this last great joy-filled laugh together--this moment of celebration that foreshadows one still to come far away in another world.
I long for this moment and sometimes feel as if my heart will break out of my chest and run away from me to get there.
I guess I'm thankful I didn't know. I needed these precious days, these memories, unfettered by my reckless and futile efforts to control the story.
Life just happened...
and inside the aching pain and the mystery, I trust there's a meaning that will be revealed.
God, be near, and Happy Mother's Day to me.