I miss Mom. Sometimes still so much I feel my heart hurt like it did in those first days. Other times, it’s more of a dull ache and not so painful. When I first returned from the Outer Banks trip, I was busy so I felt it less.
But, while I usually saw the pale yellow butterflies in the park where I run, I wasn’t seeing them upon my return from vacation. Somehow seeing them made me feel close to Mom. Where had they gone? I know it seems a bit silly, but it was bringing me down.
Then, Tuesday, I was out running on the first sunny morning we’ve had in a while. It had rained in the wee hours of the morning so everything was fresh and clean. The heat hadn’t kicked in yet. There was a nice breeze. It was a gorgeous morning.
When I got to the park, I started my usual conversation with Mom, telling her I missed her and telling her how much I love her. Then, the yellow butterfly appeared. The tears came. Then I saw a goldfinch. Then a dragonfly. And finally, a gold and black monarch-type butterfly. Mom was everywhere! I felt her presence so strongly that I couldn’t hold back the sobs. I slowed down as I could barely breathe.
It’s strange how your emotions go on a roller coaster ride through the grieving and healing process. It was Sunday morning. I hadn’t seen any sign of Mom as I came back from running. The house was empty as Dad was at church. I made my tea and started sobbing. I think it was a combination of not seeing those signs and then picturing life a year ago…seeing Mom coming out to the kitchen at probably around 11am. She loved her sleep! I’d ask her, “How are you today?” She’d reply, “I don’t know yet. It’s too soon to say.” I’d laugh, knowingly. I could picture her getting her glass of water and her “morning” pills and fixing a bowl of cereal. I just missed her – horribly so that day. And, I was feeling that it was all so unfair. So, I cried as I watched the water boil.
My Tuesday morning run, although filled with loads of tears, was healing. I needed a moment like that. Some people go to church. It’s never been my thing. I guess I’ve always seen nature as my church. And, this is where I feel close to Mom. She wasn’t as into the outdoors as I am. But, she cherished the natural world. She loved colorful flowers. She got a kick out of seeing bunnies and squirrels in our yard and the white-tailed deer that we see around the parks and wooded areas of our suburbs. I know every time she visited me while I lived in Colorado she treasured the time in the mountains, being in awe of them. And, she so loved the beach and the ocean. I feel like when I immerse myself in the natural world, Mom knows and she speaks to me then. She’s a mom – she understands that this is my special place.
As you read this I may very well be out running in the park again, talking to Mom and probably shedding a few tears as I follow the pale yellow butterflies…