A dear friend of mine asked me just the other day how I’ve been doing/coping since the passing of my Mom back in January. This same friend knows that my fiancee and I just moved out here to California last year, purchased a business back in December, are planning a wedding and honeymoon for later this year and are in the middle of purchasing a beautiful piece of property that, one day, we have dreams of building our own home upon.
I told her that, I believe, one of God’s biggest gifts of grace to me throughout this difficult time has been to make sure that my plate is more full than I know what to do with. By giving me more than I ever would have thought I could handle, He has made sure that I can’t get “stuck” in any one area of my life. The business (a lovely spice and tea retail store on Pier 39 in San Francisco) takes up a HUGE chunk of time at the moment. We’ve been working on hiring the best employees, learning the most efficient and cost-effective way of ordering inventory, making sure we have everything we need in order to be compliant with the franchise - and the Pier, not to mention getting the store (and our staff) ready to start selling individual cups of tea. All of that has left us with very little time to even start thinking about marketing - but we’ve begun to do that as well!
In addition to the store, the property purchase, wedding and honeymoon planning, and continuing to get used to life in a completely different state, we also have a 10 year-old chihuahua who needs a bit more care now than he did when he was younger, and we have loved ones we need and want to make spending more time with a priority.
I told my friend - it’s a delicate balance to be sure. Being super busy is a gift in the sense that, as I mentioned, I really don’t have the “time” to get “stuck” in any one area of life at the moment. At the same time, being this busy provides the temptation to not face the fact that one of the most important people who has ever been in my life (or ever will be) is no longer here in the same way. I can’t just pick the phone and call Mom, just to tell her I love her, or to ask her how she’s feeling, or to share with her something that happened with her one and only grand-dog (she was always nuts about little Peanut).
Every time we work on plans for the wedding, I have the opportunity to accept and face the fact that she is not going to be here for it (at least not physically, anyway). It’s a daily challenge - sometimes it’s a challenge, minute by minute. I’ll be walking down the aisle at the grocery store and hear a song that Mom used to love, or one that we used to sing together, and all of a sudden I’m a crying mess. However, as I told my friend - I might be a mess, walking through the grocery store, but I choose to keep on walking, head up, facing and moving forward.
It’s a metaphor for life, really. I’m never going to be able to prevent anything that God and Life have in store for me (bad or good, thank goodness). The only thing I can control is my perspective (how I choose to see those events) and my response to them.
So, all that being said, I choose to keep living, to keep loving, to keep dreaming, and most of all, to keep moving forward with my head up, facing whatever comes with an open mind and an open heart. I was blessed to have my Mom all my life until now. Not everyone is blessed to have either of their parents as long as I got to have both of mine.
Grieving their passing and missing them is a regular part of life now. It’s not something I would ever avoid or try to ‘get out of’. I am grateful that, as humans, we are permitted to have the experience of loving people so much that we are not the same when they leave this life. I was different after Dad passed and I’m already different now that Mom is no longer with us. I learned much from her during her lifetime and I am continuing to learn more in and from her passing.
There’s much more to learn and experience and, for that, I’m grateful.