Today is Sunday and better yet, it’s Mother’s Day. It’s a windy, bright day with movement and beauty all around. This morning I spoke of planting flowers and tomatoes and maybe building a raised bed where we could grow them, its in our human nature to look forward.
There is a disconnect between this sparkling day and the virus that lives among us, now in all corners of the world. It finds us still, no matter how well we hide or how quiet we have become. It has infected everything, but this day seems to know nothing of that.
Our spirits have been whitewashed by uncertainty and angst these last months, fear lies beneath most conversations and lack thereof. Beyond the endless drone of the media it’s been a time time of stillness. The dying have been silenced and we are silent too, hidden and tentative behind masks, unable to feel each other through our gloves.
During these times the saints have been here as well, watching us. They’ve seen all this stuff before. They’ve felt the fear, the fire as it burned them alive. They’ve been stoned and nailed to the cross. They have suffered and are watching quietly, lovingly as we suffer too.
It’s our time now.
I have thought of my mother quite often during these days. She lived through the Depression and World War ll and made her way through her share of anxiety and fear, many times feeling and experiencing the hardest edges of life.
This morning she comes to me as she often does and we eat cereal from the little bowls she once used for her morning eggs. We walk the streets she once walked and we talk about the things we once spoke of together. It’s mother’s day after all, it feels good to be with her again.
I can’t remember her voice anymore and I can barely remember how it felt to put my arms around her and feel her tightly squeeze me back. But she is here today and I know she is beside me and like the saints, she is watching.
I explain to her that as I age I feel myself sometimes shrinking back, the relevance of my life fading. I know this is a common feeling and it’s easy to do, especially now as my time on the earth lessens and my body releases the purpose of creating life. I tell her I am sure this seemingly endless chaos in the world makes these feelings worse.
As she always did, she listens and pauses before responding. Then she tells me to examine my life and look at the incredible women I am surrounded by and so fortunate to know. They will inspire me out of these feelings and show me that age does not bring boundaries, but wisdom.
I look at the women in all parts of my life who remind me of the power and creativity women wield. In my own community I see Nancy laughing through her tears and gathering writers, encouraging us to feel and write through these painful times. I see Laurel at work, who month after month tirelessly creates and edits and reaches out to those who’s voices need to be heard. She spins the straw of these voices into golden threads of connection and kindness.
I see my friend Freedom who shows me how to embrace the ancestors by welcoming them with open arms as she stands firmly in her own truth so tall, resolute and fierce.
These many women in my life are like a grove of strong, thick oaks and my mom stands prominently among them. They grow stronger as they age, their bark covered in creases, cracks and age spots, reaching with their grand gnarled branches, surging upward as they create and manifest their purpose.
They all begin to surround me today, flooding my senses. Their voices and their stories wind through my mind and around my heart and they begin to lift me. These are the women throughout my life who have shown me wisdom and grace. I look into their faces and they are beautiful.
This disease will crumble in time and some of us will remain. We will carry the spirits of those before us like banners in the wind. We will bring them and their wisdom with us to the top of the mountain and we will celebrate - reminding each other as my mother has taught me that today we are here, and we matter to each other. The saints, our ancestors and those we have lost will swirl around us and rejoice because they will know we have learned the most important of earthly lessons… to take this day and the memories, voices and stories of those we have loved and find our own way to make them matter.
Later in the day my mother and I walk on the beach she once loved. On this windy sunday mother’s day she reminds me these boundaries I have imagined are an illusion and I will make my way through this time the best I can with her guidance and that of these incredible women in my life who are there for me to love and learn from.
One day when my time comes, I will relinquish this physical body in hopes that women after me will continue on in my place. Then it will be me who finds them inside the chaos as my mother found me today. It will be my opportunity to tell them this is no time to despair or to doubt the beauty of the world. I will remind them that we are all mothers of our own lives and it’s up to us to care and nurture ourselves and those we love. I will tell them we must call on each other to carry us when we can’t walk another step.
Despite the seemingly dark horizon before us these days, today we are connected, supported and surrounded by the incredible mothers who have loved us and reminded us of what matters most. Whether they sit beside us in this world or a world we can only now imagine, our arms remain entwined, and we walk step by step through this time together.
We have climbed many times before and we are further up this mountain than we think. We are just a few moments away from our voices being heard above the din of darkness and disease. Don’t stop now my mother whispers - we are almost through.