They were on a pile of stuff she’d cleared out and said I could have, two spiral notebooks, covering a slice of Mom’s life from January 1, 1997 through October 26, 1997… and a final few entries beginning Feb 8, 1999 and ending Feb 15, 1999. (Final meaning only that that’s when she stopped writing in the journal–don’t want to start any rumors or alarm anyone here.)
I spend last night and part of today reading them and being with memories, privileged and thankful for this record of her life and our family at another time–especially knowing what I know now, and also because one usually only finds and reads these kinds of things after someone is gone. (Thankfully, Mom is very much around yet!)
That slice in time is such a wonderful snapshot of who my mom is, those she loved and cared about, what she loved and what made her laugh and smile, and also what weighed on her heart back then. What a glimpse into our family as well.
In 1997, Dad was still with us; he would pass in October of 1998. (Note the gap in those dates.) Her posts reflected his failing health. And also her mother’s. Mom was caught in a hard place–and some of it shows. She did what she could, and mostly she focused on the good things: Time with her kids, Thursday card club, people and pets and parish work.
In 1997, all eight of us kids were grown, making our way in life, most lived close by, and kept in touch with Mom…She loved it and mentions many visits, drop-ins, family gatherings, shopping, cook-outs, farm stuff, books and gifts and good times we shared. The bittersweet is smiling at the memories, appreciating this amazing recorded slice in time, and shedding a few tears, too.
Dad’s passing and dividing a family farm led to differences that would separate brothers and mom; Grandma, her mom, would pass in 2003; and Laura, the youngest of us kids and Mom’s sweetheart, would pass in 2012. Life moves forward and there’s no going back…and I don’t want to. I don’t know why some passings bring tears and others don’t. I know these lives of ours are all sacred dances and roles we come to play on life’s stage for a limited period of time. And we are each players in each others lives and greatness and growing somehow.
Still, photographs, snapshots, captured slices of time like this, in words or pictures, remind us of who we were then and allow us to see how we and others have grown since.
Here’s to blessing the past and releasing it with love, and living today with gratitude and no regrets. – Anne
Who do you love? What brings you joy? Where is your heart and spirit leading you? What blessings has your past given you?
In the end, we just do the best we can as who we are now.