Now in my 50th year of life, I think about my different stages of yearning for my mother. When she first transitioned from this life to heaven, I missed her touch the most. To fulfill this need, I touched her hand in her coffin, but it was cold and her skin was rough. I knew then she was not there, nor here on earth, and I no longer yearned for her touch.
Next, I missed seeing her. I wanted to see her see me, to see that I was ok. She then visited my dreams, never speaking, but giving me just enough to feel comforted. She still comes when I need direction, leaving me with just that and a bit of peace.
Years later, when I first became pregnant, I really wanted to talk to her. So many questions I had failed to ask. Was I ready for motherhood? How would I do this without her? Would my daughter ever know how much I loved my own mother? For this, she gave me the greatest gift - of knowing: an unspoken communication. A caress devoid of touch. An understanding requiring no explanation.
She's been gone now 25 years, half of my lifetime, yet she's been with me all along. We communicate in ways I can't explain; she's with me all the time. I was not aware of this way of being before her transition, but now, it is how I view all my relationships.
My husband knows when we watch a movie and cry at the exact same moment, because he feels my pain of a memory of my mother. My daughter knows when she calls at the exact moment I need to talk to her. My son knows when he gives me a desperately needed hug when disappointment looms.
You do not have to share my blood to know me. My son's best friend knows when they both leave my house at night. There are dangers that my son faces that his friend will share when they are together. We don't have to discuss it anymore. We know it is real. He knows the rules as well as my son. He knows I worry, so the goodbye embrace is not simply a "Have a good time" hug, but one of caution. They will text me location changes. They will let me know when both get home safely. If he knows, why can't you?
The colors are a different shade now that my mother is physically gone, permanently altered. And perhaps that is what enables me to seek being known, to need to be known. I am an educator by vocation and by life choice. I need to bond with fellow educators to do this work. But I am not known by many. But it is what I need most.
I don't expect you to know me instantly, but sit at my table with me. Share a meal. See what I see so that you can feel what I feel. Then, there would be no need for explanation. You would know. And when you know, you will help me do.
Reflecting is good for the soul. Doing so in public is terrifying and exhilarating.