My mom stopped breathing 102 days ago.

I had my first real cry today.

I don’t know why the tears didn’t come on June 13th, a little later, at her service, or even after that.

Sure, I welled up a couple of times. But no cry.

Tonight I went to bed, and the eulogy I wrote flooded my thoughts. I had to get up to read it, and it happened.

They Come

When a writer, an artist, a musician, or any kind of creative tells you, “I didn’t do that, the images come to me” or “the words, they come to me” or some such nonsense, it’s not nonsense; they’re not being modest. It’s what happens to us.

Even though I had been writing mom’s eulogy in my head for months before she took her last breath, I found myself struggling to find the words just days before her memorial service, then they spilled out.

They came to me, through me, by me, and, tonight, I understand, for me.

I shared the words to celebrate mom’s life, but they were always for me. And on this, the 102nd day since her death, I needed those words. And like the words, the tears, they came.

The Gifts

Writing is hard and magical. Grieving is hard and mysterious. Words and grief are also gifts.

I don’t pretend to understand how the words come or why the tears don’t. But I’m grateful for the gift of words that help me connect the dots, that light a path through, that heal and open me. And I’m grateful for the tears that wash me with remembrance, remind me of the importance that person…

I deleted “that I lost” from the last sentence, because those aren’t the words, and mom’s not lost. I know she’s with me and with others.

And that’s the miracle isn’t it? Something you did so many years ago will touch someone who is clueless, a stranger who never knew of you. A flower descended from seeds you planted with patient steady hands might brighten that stranger’s table, bring a smile to her child, push hope up through the soil of a broken heart.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2022