(The post below was written on July 1, 2020. My mom passed on April 4, 2020.)
My dad and I went out to one of our favorite restaurants for lunch yesterday.
I can’t even count the number of birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Days, Father’s Days, going aways, and welcome homes we’ve celebrated at this restaurant.
In the warmer months, we would sit outside on the water and in the colder months, we would sit inside with a view of the water.
Although we’ve been there several times without my mom as her Alzheimer’s progressed to the point she could no longer join us, yesterday was our first time eating there since she passed.
My dad reminisced, as he always does when we eat there without her, about how much my mom loved coming there. How they would sit at the blue tables right on the water. How they would always split the fried combo and the waitress would always bring it out on two plates. How it was still too much food for either one of them to finish their share.
He smiled as he talked about their memories there and then he quietly looked down, shaking his head.
“I miss her so much, but I couldn’t stand to see her like that. She went through so much. She didn’t deserve any of it.”
And he went on to tell me more stories of all the ways he cared for her, stories that are far too personal and not mine to tell.
But I can tell you this.
We are sad and we miss her, but we would never want her back the way she left us. She is much better off no longer living on the soil of this earth, but rather in everything we see all around us.
Even as I write these words, sitting outside in my newly inherited wicker rocking chair that was once my mom’s, a cardinal stopped by to eat from our bird feeder.
You can’t tell me she’s not here. You can’t tell me she’s not still with us.
Yesterday at lunch, today in her rocking chair, and every other day for the rest of our lives.
As I move forward with both grief and hope in my heart, I will smile when I think of her because I know she’s always by my side.