When I heard your voice, it did not sound the same. It was weak and more fragile than a dewdrop glistening in the sun clinging to a blade of grass. The tone was soft, too soft, not quite a whisper. The notes were flat, it was apparent that it was a struggle for you to speak. It frightened me as I’m sure you were frightened, maybe even angry and you had every right to be, but there was no trace of hard emotions in your voice. There was no room for it, it took all you had inside you to draw an even breath.
That day, I sat alone and thought of all the times you had called over the years, the way you’d say, “Hello” and my name, always made me smile. The brightness of your voice. The bubbly laughter when you’d share a story. It troubled me when I realized that I didn’t remember the last time I heard that sound or felt that warmth since you began this fight.
After we talked, I couldn’t help but say a prayer and ask why, and request any comfort the Universe, God, Gaia, Jehovah and/or the Great Spirit could wrap around you, your husband, daughter and family living on the different continents of this earth, friends – everyone who loves you. Prayers always seem to be called on first when something terrible happens, or thanking the powers that be when something wonderful happens later on – but not much in the middle.
When you called with the news of the next plan in your treatment, and what the outcome could be, I wondered if you would reroute onto another medical highway, a different direction with different medicines, extend the journey in rehab? Or do you find the exit that leads to your home? To have your things filled with memories, history, and happiness to surround you. Familiar smells, faces, photographs capturing events, a favorite teacup. Both have pros and cons, one is bittersweet.
I can remember times when you called and were so frustrated with your daughter as she was growing up, or the sadness in your voice that your husband’s decisions were not that of your own, or your parent’s demands and doing what they thought was best were sometimes exhausting and annoying, resentful and downright wrong. Yet YOU always, always persevered. Always. Surrounded by wants overwhelmed and stripped away need. There never is, but there should be because guilt, anger, and resentment builds and builds and eats away at the soul. We swallow the pain silently. Now we understand it does more harm to ourselves than good. That standing our ground and doing what we need to do for us first might just be the healthy, more productive, meaningful way to live and move forward. You shouldered the struggles, braced yourself, raised your chin and did what you thought was the best. Which always was the best you could do. Your daughter thrived and continues to grow and learn how to navigate this life. Your husband knew he could count on you and how strong you were.
Of course, those are just words typed onto a page right now. The important thing is not to dwell in the past but push forward with plans and events for the future. Hope is a powerful medicine, more powerful than any medication a doctor can prescribe. Feeling loved is even more powerful than hope. You are loved.
Do you have a pile of the latest magazines to look through, inspiring books to read and puzzles to work at? Keep that mind thinking!
I know when you are called to teach, to raise a child, to develop a relationship, to secure boundaries and focus on a bigger picture – it is important. When you are called and can share an experience, point out a pain then heal the wound, with a little faith and clear mind, you can forgive and then you can grow. No pointing fingers, no ugly words or threats, judgments or fighting. I believe fighting only points to your own flaws. It strips the beauty and reveals a hidden ugly side of a person. We are ALL familiar with those individuals, sometimes we’re even related to some of them! Lol! Which is hard when we love them deeply. We want so much more for them, our darlings, our joys. Hurtful words leave deep scars. Ignoring them does not make them go away.
So when we spoke, I realized there is time to reflect and time to apologize for any past regrets. Not to push off what can be said until tomorrow – but to voice them to anyone and everyone we care deeply for. That is a gift. There have been so many gifts and more positive times over the years I’ve been graced to know you, so much laughter. But Maureen, if I have ever offended you if I’ve ever overstepped or wallowed in my own pain and sadness, it was not my intention to cause you harm or hurt your feelings, and I am deeply sorry if I did. No one has the right to judge another person, no one really has the right to find fault and shine a spotlight on the pain. Everyone has the right to love how they choose, live as they choose and journey for as long as they can or desire in whatever direction they wish to take. You always allowed that, and I cherish you most for it.
You loved my girls and their talents and faults including of course Clayton, our amazing young man and sweet Shakira who hasn’t changed a bit. You deeply love your brother, who is such a good man, who always brightens when he says your name. I love you for all that and so much more.
Remembering your calls over the years, the last handful of months, the past few days – I choose to remember your voice and how it made me smile. I choose to think of your thoughtfulness. You NEVER forgot a birthday. You never forgot to send Christmas cards, encouragements, sympathy cards, every holiday card! You always asked and were interested in what we were doing. You care, you cared, you’ve always cared, and we loved you for it so much.
So as you lay there, I ask you, I beg you, to find that part of you that always had a kind and gentle word and put yourself in a place of true and complete healing, light and love and know you have literally a ton of people thinking of you, cheering for you, praying for you and planning to have future memories with you.
I’m thinking of you right now and love you very much,
It is with a heavy heart to share with you that my sister-in-law Maureen passed away in mid-March. She leaves a husband and daughter who loved her very much and I know will miss her every day they walk on this earth. As will everyone who was ever blessed enough to have met her. She was happiness, she was warmth and caring. She was laughter, light, and love. She was Maureen.