On Friday night, I went for a long run.
I am a morning runner,
but because of a busy weekend ahead, the evening seemed to be the only time I'd be able to get my run in for the week.
I don't consider the evenings quiet and peaceful. Mine usually include rushing from practices, scrambling through homework and dinner, and battling little ones who don't want to wind down. I've always sort of been grateful for my hectic nights. "Stay busy." If I just immerse myself in daily life, I just won't have time to think about it. I won't have time to miss her. I fill my life with appointments, obligations, and deadlines. It is denial in action. I know this and this is how I cope.
It is no coincidence that we call the difficult times in our lives the dark periods. Coming out of the darkness...we've heard it many times. There is just something in the evening, when our bodies and minds relax, and our thoughts become pensive and introspective. I think of it as the emotional part of the day. It's when that sadness that I shove deep down in my heart all day becomes more difficult to repress.
So, at eight o'clock, I find myself running near the orange groves. It is silent and so dark that I can no longer see the path in front of me. My thoughts immediately turn to my mom and even the overwhelming aroma of orange blossoms can't distract my mind. I miss her... I want to talk to her... If we just had another... Wouldn't she have loved...the thoughts run through my head like news scrolls across a television screen. And, then the tears come. Running and crying. No noise, just a steady stream rolling down my face. When my mom died, I didn't lose her all at once. I lost her in pieces over time. It is the blessing and curse of disease. Once she was gone, her presence slowly began to disappear. I saw less of her friends. Her scent gradually faded from her house. The kids stopped saying her name. And, suddenly... all of her... gone. Every now and then, it happens and the realization that she is gone forever is overwhelming.
I had one of those moments on the pavement along the orange groves. I pulled myself together, wiped the tears, and ran home.
The next night, I received an email message and slide show from my Aunt Wendy. She included a note, "Hope this doesn't make you sad." It came just when I needed it and it didn't make me sad...made me smile.
The final slide read,
Your mother is always with you...she's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street; she's the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks; she's the cool hand on your brow when you're not well. Your mother lives inside your laughter...And she's crystallized in every tear drop. She's the place you came from, your first home; and she's the map you follow with every step you take. She's your first love and your first heartbreak, and nothing on earth can separate you.
Not time, not space...not even death.