Friday, June 7, 2013

June 7th

On Mothers Day this year, my family all went to church together. And by all, I mean most: my dad, brother, sister, sister-in-law, me and all six of our collective kids (ages 5, 2, 2, 2, 1 and 7 months). My dad couldn’t have been prouder to show off his crew, and I noticed many amused smiles as we filed into our row, each adult carrying one or two children. As the mass began and I looked around at my wiggly, wonderful family, I smiled to myself. We must be such a spectacle, I thought; everyone must be looking at us.

At that moment, I flashed back to another scene of my life, almost 12 years prior. We were waiting at the airport the morning of June 7, 2001, the day my mother died. We were waiting for my sister’s plane to arrive. Waiting to break her heart. I don’t know how I stayed on my feet.

When she got off the plane and saw us, her first instinct was to smile. But then I saw her face fall, with recognition. As she walked toward us in slow motion, her jaw hardened, bracing herself. I don’t think we even said anything as she approached us. We just folded her into our arms, and sobbed together, holding each other up.

I remember having a short out-of-body experience at that moment. I envisioned us standing there, on a weekday morning, in the middle of O’Hare airport. I watched all the people just going about their day, walking around us, witnessing our pain.

We must be such a spectacle, I thought. Everyone must be looking at us.

What time and God and life and the guidance of my sweet mother have done since then. Joy has been created out of agony. Hope out of despair. Abundance out of brokenness. That day, we were four. By the end of this year, we will be 15. If there is ever a reason for faith, this is it.

Three years ago today, I was awoken by a text message that said, “Today is baby day!” Several hours later, my Godson was born, on the ninth anniversary of my mother’s death. In the same hospital where she died. See what happened there? Our narrative changed. His birth didn’t erase the past, but it grew the story. Where there once was darkness, now there was light. Of all the things I’ve learned in the last 12 years, this is among the most important. Things don’t stay the same. For better or for worse. There is always more to come.
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7 thoughts on “June 7th

  1. Julie

    Beautiful reflection! And you truly have a beautiful and wonderful family that welcomed me many times when I was a child. I remember your mom well ~ and she would really be proud!

  2. Anonymous

    What an amazing and wise post. Thinking about your mom and your wonderful, growing family today. – Erika

  3. Sarah Somers

    As always, I am inspired by your words, faith, and spirit, Lisa! This is a beautifully crafted tribute to the woman who gave you her twinkle-in- your-eyes-smile :). I bet when you had that notion at Easter mass (“everyone was looking at us”), your mom was certainly the one smiling the most as she watched such a joyous “spectacle”.

    Thoughts are with you and your strong family today. Looking forward to seeing you soon! ~Sarah


    Beautiful. I was crying the whole way through because, as you know, I lost my mom less than a year ago. I love how hopeful this post was, and it made me feel hopeful, too. My sweet Colette was born the day before my mom’s birthday. So now, as I face this first summer without my mom, and as I approach the anniversary of her death, I also have a first birthday to celebrate–a beautiful reminder of the love and hope that is right here in front of me. Hugs to you!

  5. Anonymous

    Beautifully worded, Lisa. We all remember where we were on that day 12 years ago. Life has continued for all of us but I believe that Jean would be the first to urge us to live life to the fullest. She would be so tickled to see how her family has blossomed. Hugs to you and your family. Aunt Jan

  6. Auntie Lee

    I heard you posted something beautiful but I didn’t know how to get to it. I found it today. It is truly beautiful!!! You may not know it Lisa, but your mom was a joy to Uncle Tom & I when she was little. And as she grew into the woman that you knew, we always enjoy being in her presents. She was truly, an outstanding person. We still missed her.


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