In the course of a lifetime there are some things that matter. Birds matter. Flowers matter. Moments matter. Songs matter. Stillness matters. Travels matter. Walks matter. Talks matter.
It’s been two years now since I’ve heard Mom speak. Two years is a long time not to hear her voice; a long time since our last conversation. I don’t hear her talking to me or dream about her much. I don’t often feel her presence apart from me.
Talking to Mom was a little like going to confessional. She was always quietly encouraging me not so much to be better, but to be closer to the Lord. I had this tendency to confide things to her…things I wasn’t willing to acknowledge or tell anyone else. I think it was because I knew she wouldn’t judge me or find me lacking. A lot of times, she didn’t even say much. She just listened and responded with a scripture, a connection, or a bit of wisdom. But something amazing occurred: Mom was like a mirror and when I looked at her, I could see myself the way God sees me. I could grasp His love for me because it was always reflected in her face. And from that love, I gained insight into the issue I was facing. I gained details regarding situations; connections God wanted me to recognize and lessons he was trying to impart. I gained why’s: why something had bothered me, what I was supposed to learn from it, and next steps to take in the spirit to prevail. That was the thing about Mom; she was always willing to dig deep with you and pray fervently. Often, the answer would just occur to me while we were talking after one of our prayer sessions.
I think this is why I wasn’t sure I could live without her. And, if I’m being honest, I haven’t had a Mom conversation with anyone since she passed. When I say there is no one who can take her place, this is what I mean. But I understand these talks were something that belonged to us; they were a gift God gave me for the first 40 years. They were meant to steer and guide and give me refuge. They were meant to last a lifetime.
This two year mark is surreal for many reasons, but mainly because I’m Mom now. I don’t often feel her apart from me because she’s in me. Mom is in my face, my voice, my work, my actions…she’s infused in everything I do. When I’m focused on my to-do list at work and then stop to check on a co-worker or student, that’s Mom, conversing with a client even though she’s tired and wanting to hurry and finish cleaning so she can get home and rest. When my daughter FaceTimes me with a problem and I stop what I’m doing to take the call, listen to the events of the story and respond with prayer and encouragement, that’s Mom. I hope I fill the role for my children as well as she did for me.
I will always talk about her like she’s alive because she is; she is in me, my kids, my sister and brother, my aunts…she’s in the birds, the flowers, the moments, the songs, the travels, the walks, and the talks. My heart has conversations with her daily, only the format has changed. After those prayers and talks, a quiet knowing about what to do will still come to me. And that, my friends, matters most of all.
Happy two years at rest, Mama. I love and miss you, always. ♥️
“Just remember every time you hear that record
It’ll still be us forever
And when you’re walking and you see the red leaves falling
It’ll be just like we’re talking” 🎶
~ Betsy Phillips