She was the wind beneath my wings.
She was my reason to recap each week in a letter, look for the highlights and send off the best each week could be.
She was my sounding board, she gave a voice to those who didn't speak the words directly to me.
She gave me the tools to be the best that I could be.
She lifted me up and made me feel worthy.
She fought for me.
She spoke for me before I learned to speak on my own...
I wrote these words in July, 2011:
"Five years ago, I returned to our home town for a Homecoming reunion. Five years ago, a seed was planted which changed the course of my life. Five years ago, my mom found two of my cousins and an old friend. She gathered us together at a table and we visited as though a lifetime hadn't elapsed since we last talked.
Little did I know, the chain of events initiated by that moment would alter the course of my life, my thinking, my confidence and my being. Five years ago ... I started to come home."
I have often joked that I didn't start talking until I was 46. After I became chatty, Mom would explain, "She's making up for lost time". We would laugh. I often wondered if I embarrassed her with my excess wordage. I never asked.
Mom was a catalyst to a change within my life that took me to exactly where I am today.
We "co-wrote a few books" together. I was the writer. She was the story teller. But the stories were not hers alone to tell so we invited all of her siblings together to write the memories of her family. Then she stood by my side as I compiled memories from Dad's family to forge their own book.
The feeling of "starting to come home" came full circle as I talked with and got to know Mom and Dad's families. I became deeply rooted within family and the gifts I have received as a result of finding my roots have carried me through and beyond everything life has had to dole out ever since.
This past week has been a tough one.
I took all of Mom's income tax papers and all of my knowledge about the land Dad farmed to the accountant and laid it out before her. We talked of "Capital Gains" and all the technicalities that entails. I didn't know all the answers so I had to reach out. I contacted Dad's family to ask questions I didn't know the answers to. But the biggest gift of all was in the gifts Dad left behind and the fact that Mom saved them for me to open at a later date.
I often state that I have Dad's income taxes "since income tax was invented". But I would be wrong. What I do have is each and every income tax form Dad filed from 1946 until the year he died. One would think that is pretty boring reading. But I held onto them. I kept thinking "there is a story within those papers". And there is.
The second gift I opened was a box of Dad's farm accounting books. His record keeping was meticulous. He recorded everything. Each and every expense, down to the penny. Every dollar earned. Long distance charges, telephone rental, how much he paid his hired hands and notations of all kinds.
My world outside of "Mom and income taxes" was crushing me and I found such comfort in reaching out to Dad's family, immersing myself in Dad's paperwork, grateful for the fact that Mom saved them and the excuse to contact my siblings to update them on the "tax situation at hand".
Give me numbers, black and white problems and accounting any day of the week. It is the messy part of living and working that has become so hard, that I start each morning I must leave our home to go to work with a chant I actually say aloud as I summon my courage to face the day, "You can do this.Yes you can!"
One day in particular this week, I was at my weakest. It took everything I had in me to leave the house and face the day. I sat down in the car, turned it on, looked to the radio and thought loudly, "Mom? Talk [sing] to me..."
I have become super-skeptical about the whole idea of "a presence after death". I want to find signs that Mom &/or Dad are with me. I haven't felt, seen or found what my sisters have spoke of. But what I have found hopeful is the fact that the radio waves seem to send me words when I least expect them. I can't scan the channels and bring these words up at will. They seem to need to find me when I'm not looking. But when the words speak to my heart and sound like something Mom would say, I gaze into the empty space around me and think, "Mom? ..."
Could music and lyrics be the "currency" she uses with me?
My sister told Mom that she heard finding a dime means the spirit of a loved one is watching over you (I could have the exact meaning misconstrued but it is something along that line). Mom knew my sister believed this. My sister found a dime the morning after Mom died. She found another shortly thereafter. She had just found another when we spoke this week. I have no idea how many dimes she has found. I haven't found one. Not one.
Dimes are my sister's "currency". Mom knew this. Hmmmm....
My other sister has commented on knowing Mom is with her. The eagle that came out of nowhere and flew directly in front of her husband when he was driving to our family farm to collect some old barn boards. The two eagles that showed up after our family gathered at our old farm to spread some of Mom's ashes "...it was Mom and she brought Dad along".
I try to be logical and not expect other-worldy communication but my heart would be comforted if I could believe again.
As I spoke with my sister yesterday, I could barely speak the words but I told her I was very skeptical of the belief Mom was still with us but I asked, "What if she could be ... and if she could ... she would "speak" to each us in a way we would hear her and feel her presence?" Dimes for one; eagles; lyrics ... what if?
The morning I asked Mom to "talk" to me via the radio waves, this is what I heard:
"Everybody says "say something"
Say something, say something
Then say something, say something, then say something"
I went to work and I said something. The entire day rotated on its axis. I desperately needed to SAY something.
Thanks, Mom. You ARE the wind beneath my wings. Thank you for lifting me up and carrying me when I feel too weak to do it on my own.
And the real reason I felt Mom's presence behind the lyrics that told me what I needed to hear? Because the song ended with this line:
"Sometimes the greatest way to say something is to say nothing at all"
That line is straight out of the Book of Mom. I truly believe she did think I talked too much.😊