Life After Mama
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
May 14th slipped by so quickly so I wanted to take a few minutes to recognize that it has been 6 months of life without mama. What my friends -without- mothers tell me is true, I’ve wanted to call her to talk about cousin Billy’s death , to chat about the heart attack/stroke prevention workup I had this past Friday, and tons more. There is no safety net for me anymore. Honestly, there is no one in the world who can replace her.
I am sure glad to have two friends who communicate with me daily because they are her stand ins. Mama and I talked on the phone almost daily. Several times a day sometimes just to “check in”. It was a comfort for both of us to know that we were there for each other if either of us needed anything.
It is a lonely spot but I think of how she got through it having lost her mother at 68. I had mama 24 years more. Isn’t it funny how I think in terms of how many more years we were together than some. I am grateful. We had really good times together. So I reach back often to think of how she did it and realize that mama depended on me and my brother to fill the void. Mama had several good friends, too, during the course of her life without her mother, then without my father. Daddy died when he was 68, too, so she had 24 years solo.
You have to be a tough cookie to handle all that life throws at you when you are flying by yourself. (And by that I mean without your mother. I have a loving husband and two remarkable children, but life without your mother is very different especially if you have had one another for many years.) I tell myself that if mama did it, I can too. She is still my main source of strength. I reach back every day and think of how she would handle situations and I keep moving forward, plowing through. She is with me every single day, and I have felt a new connection since she died which is also a comfort.
Here are a few things I have been doing that help me through these new days.
I share so that maybe at least one of these things will help you.
Make family & friendships a priority.
Connecting with your people often and in meaningful ways helps tremendously.
You give to them and they give back to you. You can’t beat it.
I have learned the process of right sizing from my garden!
Stick with the people and situations that fill you up, support and energize you.
If they don’t, then let go of those people or situations.
The same goes with plants!
Keep the plants you’ve planted in the right spot,
if they don’t seem to like it there then it is time to shovel prune!
Listen While You Walk!
I’ve become a podcast junkie!
Marianna introduced me to Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast
a couple of years ago
and I love it!
Gretch is authentic and you will love her too.
Download the podcast app and start listening to her.
I also listen to Joyce Meyer a LOT.
She has been a huge source of strength for me and I stay pointed in the right direction listening to her. She is no-nonsense and shoots from the hip sort of like my mother.
These two books are excellent.
Like my mother, I place high value on my physical health.
Now in my 50’s, I see that taking good care of myself over the years is paying off, but now is not the time to stop. It is even more important to have annual check ups, go to the dentist, and exercise. I have found weight training to be a great mood lifter over the years, so I continue with that at least 2 days a week. Having Sam’s dog with us from time to time has increased my moving time too. Get a FitBit if you don’t have one already. That sucker nudges me when I’ve been sitting on FaceBook too long letting me know I need to get up and move! It is NEVER too late to get started.
We are no good to anyone else if we don’t take care of ourselves.
My faith has deepened in the last few years since caregiving and loss require much more than any human can do alone. A few girls got together every Monday during Lent for a book/bible study and that was a huge lift in spirit for all of us.
We studied Perfectly Yourself by Matthew Kelly
This is an excellent read with or without a group. I have flagged pages and highlighted all over this one, so if you are interested in growing more to be the person God created you to be–
get this book!
Stop Spinning Your Wheels
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand.
The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus” Alexander Graham Bell
There is a lot more I could write about as far as how to move on after loss, but I am really not sure you’ve even read this far! I am right at 900 words so it’s time to wrap up.
Mama’s mother always told her to “stop spinning your wheels” which basically means don’t waste your time! Once you experience loss it hits hard that time is short. We are like dandelions–blow that little white ball just a bit, the POOF it is gone!
So that is what I am doing. Get on with whatever makes you happy and pleases God.
See you soon.