This past Sunday, one of my dearests threw me a women-only baby shower. Sixteen of us crammed into Gary and my little apartment, most sitting on the floor (including my mother in law, which I still feel badly about). Everyone at different life stages; some mothers, some never to be mothers, some just at the beginning of their adulthood, others with enough experience to offer sage advice. I always say gifts are optional but no one arrived empty handed. The amount of baby gifts we have received is unbelievable. Some of this is the nature of being first on both sides of the family, but a lot of it is concentrated well wishes from followers of the blog, people who don't really even know me but adore Mom and, still feeling helpless and sad about the circumstances, can't help themselves. But the best gifts were truly all of the blessings I received that day. Everyone either anointed me with oil or said a little prayer or gave me mounds of reassurance that I will not only make it through this transition to mother in one piece, but I will do a good job of it. And to seal in those blessings, everyone transferred them directly to my belly, in the form of henna tattoos.
I realize the past few entries have been depressing and raw and hard to read. But the truth is that while those emotions are real and true, they are not a realistic view of life now. Those are just the moments when it's easiest to write. Yes, absolutely, there are moments when the loss is overwhelming. But there are also many more moments when life simply continues, when we look forward to good things and deal with the mundane. And there are many moments when I think of Mom and it makes my heart soar with joy for the 31 years I got to be with her and all she taught me.
My dreams of her are still infrequent and mostly from when she was ill. A couple of nights ago, I was treated to dreams of her all night; we were hanging out at the Kline, working on walking the halls, and it dawned on me that if she really were still here and working on getting stronger, at some point I'd have to lose her again. And maybe that's the ultimate peace-making realization. That as hard as this past year was, we never have to do it again. And she made such a beautiful time of it. She lived her last year as fully as she could, finding joy and celebration; so many never even come close to such grace. And as difficult as it will be to enter into parenthood without her, and as sad as it makes me that she never experienced being a grandmother, my not having any real responsibilities allowed us more time together. I was able to fly to Seattle at a moments' notice, I didn't care about spending ridiculous amounts of money on airfare; things were easy in a way that they never will be again. So that's been my most recent discovery and most recent source of comfort. This mourning is what it is. I know that it has changed me forever. But at least I never have to lose her again.