Remembering Mama – August 14, 2017

Muriel Foster Ross: 1929 - 2012Five years today you’ve been gone, and yet it seems as if it was both yesterday and an eternity ago that God finally gave you rest in your grave, Mama.

I’m glad you’re not suffering anymore. That’s what matters most and what I appreciate most about losing you in this life.

Although there were very precious moments we shared in your last few years, I know the toll of dementias and cardiac problems made those years very hard for you, and I’m glad that’s over for you.

But I miss you, Mama.

I miss your smile.

I miss your mischievous sense of humor. I miss your curiosity and willingness to get out of your comfort zone – a trait you and I were both born with, I believe – and your zest for adventure.

I miss our early morning and late night talks.

I miss our walks, faster when you were still healthy and had to take two steps for every one of mine, and then slower as your age and health slowed me down to a pace that matched what you were comfortable with, as you held my arm for balance.

I miss your intelligence and insights, highlighted by the stories of your own life, showing time and again how much adversity you faced and that determination to overcome whatever came your way.

You always thought I was tougher than you, and in certain areas of life that was and is true. But you, Mama, overall endured and overcame in the big scheme of things much better than I do (I’m still a work in progress in that area…I’ve had to toughen up in ways I could never imagine, but I had a good role model for that in you).

No matter how much pain you had on the inside, it never showed on the outside. You managed, somehow, to recover a sense of optimism and genuine happiness, no matter how bad things had been or how bad things were with you personally.

I’m pretty good now at keeping the pain inside (I got overwhelmed with a lifetime of doing this after you died and I was no match for the avalanche that buried me for a while), but I was never an optimist at my best – and certainly have no reason now to become one – and I was always much more of a realist about the elusiveness of happiness.

There are moments of happiness, but they are mere temporary and short interludes in an otherwise life full of the hard stuff of trouble, sorrow, pain, and, eventually, death.

Realizing this early on in my own life made me wonder why anyone would want a long life and why anyone would want to prolong the misery of this dirt-and-water existence, simply putting off the inevitable and inescapable end we’re all destined for.

It’s still a mystery to me. In fact, why I am still here is a mystery to me. But, as you know, Mama, in the end whether I’m here or not is not my call, but I certainly put my two cents in on the subject many times a day.

I’ve been thinking lately how much everything has changed since you and Daddy died. It would break your hearts on so many levels to see and know it because there’s no a part of our lives that’s not affected anymore.

I wish you and Daddy were here to talk to and to get your perspective and wisdom on the many things I’m facing and the decisions I will need to make as I live out the rest of my life, however short or long that is. 

But you’re not here, and no matter how much your absence affects me, I know the next glorious moment you two are consciously going to have (and I pray daily that I have too, and eventually for every single human to have) and that knowledge is part of the joy set before me and it is part of what encourages me to endure and run my race to the end.

Until that end, Mama, rest well. I love you and I’ll see you soon.

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