Mourning into Dancing...

I wrote this last year on a random Sunday and shared it on another social networking site. Today's one of those days where I find myself missing her, so it only seemed appropriate to re-visit this and share the love. I wish you all could have known her. Hopefully, through my words, she lives on... July 10, 2011

Today would be one of those afternoons where I'd call her. In the midst of reading, surfing the web, and listening to music, I'd step out onto the back deck, phone in hand, and dial the number I knew best, one which is now turned off with no one there to answer the phone.

Cigarette in hand, I'd call. She might screen the call since she didn't have caller ID, but she'd most likely know it was me. She'd always answer with, "Hi Michael," knowing that my hearing her say my name was very special to me. She'd ask if it was hot in Chicago. I'd say yes, which was also an indicator that my pericarditis was acting up and my chest was hurting. She'd make sure I was keeping cool and drinking lots of water.

I'd ask how her week was, how Gene was doing, how church was this morning. I'd make sure I hadn't woken her up from a nap. Even if I had, she'd say she was just laying down and had time to talk. I can imagine her in her bedroom, a small twin size bed, furniture painted in UK blue with a handmade quilt on the bed, sunlight struggling to seep through the closed blinds.

I'd tell her I found her recipe card for bread pudding inside one of my books, indicating my desire to try and make it as good as she always did, never quite getting the sauce right. She'd ask if I was eating enough, if Frankie was talking good care of me. She may not have understood or agreed with who I was, but she could recognize love and honor it anyway.

She could always hear the pain in my voice, knowing that this was the time of the week when I hit my depressive crash. I'd probably start crying and she'd reaffirm that it would be okay, that I was strong. That I made her proud. She'd remind me of how much she loved me and missed me.

We might sit silent for a moment, me overcoming my tears, hearing her breathe patiently, knowing that I just needed to be on the phone with her. I'd talk about my excitement of starting school again soon, of wedding planning, of being told that I can preach at my home church and that my new pastor was incredibly loving and encouraging. I know deep down she'd be glad that I had a male pastor. Some Southern Baptist roots just can't be taken out of a southern lady like her.

She'd ask if I needed any money or coupons, probably having just sent an unplanned card earlier this week. She loved doing that, for me and many others. She loved people so deeply yet so simply. I could feel her sending me light and love over the phone, feeling her aging arms hugging me. On days when I would cry like I am right now, I'd lay down on the couch next to where she sat, my head in her lap. I could let it all out with her, knowing she understood, or at least tried to.

Despite the rational knowledge that I have so much going for me right now, so much love surrounding me, cradling me, love both human and Divine, I'm still struggling to find the strength to keep going, to live and to do so abundantly. I'm struggling to hold onto the sound of her voice, the smell of her hair as I would hug her, her gentle smile, her rock solid faith. I'm having a hard time knowing whether the pain in my chest is my heart's lining becoming inflamed or simply my heart breaking at the revelation of just how much I've lost. It hurts knowing that, in this life, I'll never see the light of her eyes again, feel her lips kiss me on the cheek, feel her arms hold me.

... someone help these days begin...