I had one of those stupid moments last week where I forget my mother is gone. I was running, and I’d run past a woman out for a walk who we used to live down the street from. She’s older now, probably approaching 90, and she wasn’t young back then either. But she’s always walked, this woman, for as long as I can remember, no matter the weather or the fact that sometimes the doing so was a struggle aided by a cane or punctuated with periods of short rest.
Years ago I remember …my mother bursting into the room to interrupt one of my regular periods of angsty apathy, when I didn’t want to get off the couch because I was too heart broken or pimply or hungover or whatever it is that reduces teenagers to piles of lifeless limbs, and throwing open the blinds.
“Look,” she’d said, pointing to Ms B shuffling by. “Look at her. If SHE can do that everyday, in the snow and in the rain and when it obviously causes her pain, then you can do this.”
She was right, I knew, and I got up.
I’d lost track of Ms B years ago as we do with people from our past, but when I rounded the corner and saw her familiar form ahead I knew instantly who it was. She’s still doing it, still out there, I thought to myself, more thrilled than I should have been. “I should tell mom,” I thought. “She’d appreciate it.”
And then of course I remembered all over again how my mother is gone, has been gone more than four years now actually and THIS STILL HAPPENS on a semi regular basis which seems rather unfair and a bit sadistic of the universe, if you ask me.
The force of the remembering knocked me off my feet for a second and I had to stop running. I sat there breathing hard and blinking sweaty tears out of my eyes and generally feeling sorry for myself, until I turned and watched Ms B walking slowly and steadily away from me, one foot in front of the other.
“If she can do that everyday; then you can do this,” I heard my mother say again.
She was right, I knew, and I got back up.
Grief is like life, maybe- never easy, sometimes unfair, sometimes cruel enough to knock us off our feet. Missing you mom, so much, but never forgetting. One foot in front of the other, like Ms. B, the only way through it is to keep on moving forward.