Sunday, March 25, 2012
A Woman’s Work.
“I am sorry for your loss.” Although I am certain I have used these words before, it is only now that I understand the Truth in them. That’s exactly what it feels like. One enormous loss.
My beloved Mama Pearl passed away from cancer one week ago today. It continues to set in my heart. My mother was without a doubt, the single most inspiring woman in my world. Breaking hearts around me echo the same. There were times I would just stop and look at her in awe as we spent quality time together. She had this way of shining. Her smile and personality were infectious. I would watch in amazement as her brilliant energy brought out the best in others. She smiled. Those around her would buckle at her positivity. They smiled back. I would radiate in Love as I looked at her and would quietly think to myself, that is my Mom.
Her faith was unshakeable. In our final days together we reflected on spirituality and faith. She tells me her and God are “like this” as she wraps her pointer and middle finger together in unison. I can’t help but think on times she would tell me she would become overwhelmed in the beauty of the world during her many travels with my father. I can see her in my mind now. Her face pensive. Deep in thought. She would think about heaven. She told me that if this kind of beauty could be found here on Earth, she would be ready when God called her name.
God called. I have never run so fast in my life to get to her. I have never pushed so hard in my effort to manage this enormous tragedy. A true emotional and physical marathon. I realize now that I have been subconsciously training for this moment since her diagnosis. The endless dates with my mother. The abundance of long, deep conversations. The never leaving her side throughout treatment. I made her that vow and I kept it. My father and I hold on to one another. He is so brave. He looks at me in his arms and asks if I remember my yoga. We embrace and breathe in unison.
Family and friends gather from all over the world in what feels like a matter of seconds. My parents-in-law are our saviors in their support. My Chicago and New York family are immediately by our sides. The Pearl women fly in from California, Peru, and Italy. A Pearl cousin reaches out in empathy. We sit together. I see pieces of my mother in their faces. We recall warm memories of her. She embodied that near impossible balance of elegance and simplicity. My mother was true class. She never spoke ill of others. Her sophistication was made evident in the manner in which she carried herself, the wisdom she shared, the clothing that she wore, the culture in her decor. I look at the testament of her strength: her home. She is everywhere. My mother made it a point to renovate and decorate for my father. It became her therapy. She built during times of greatest challenge. Her work is magnificent.
Things are different now. We lost our matriarch. The new family takes a quiet walk. We take a moment to reflect on a stadium bench. I feel warmth and Love in my heart as I look at my men. My brothers, my father. We are learning to fall back on the gifts she left us with. Her teachings. Her wisdom. Her strength. Her courage. We are united. I feel hopeful that we will make it through.
My mother. My best friend. My teacher. She now remains with me in a different form. I mourn. We mourn. I have cried sounds I did not know I could make from places I did not know existed within me. And then I think about the kind of woman Mama Pearl was. And I find strength in her. I find strength in my faith as she did. Sam remains solid by my side through this all. We are even more united than ever. I did not think that was possible. My hanging, tearful head finds strength. Pride swells in my chest as I find greater power in my step. I used to just be me. But I now realize that I am the daughter of the most extraordinary woman I have ever known. I am the daughter of Mama Pearl. And I will wear this on my chest as a badge of honor for the rest of my life.
This journey will surely be a long one. I think of my little blog. Although I have never outright mentioned this family struggle before, I know it has done wonders for both myself and my mother. I read back on Bold and Beautiful as I come to terms with my mother’s diagnosis. I look to A gift from Anne from when heading into surgery. I am inspired by my mother’s unfailing positive attitude in a Sweet Saturday, Soulful Sunday post. I see messages of hope and encouragement sprinkled throughout these past two years. She always believed in me and this blog was something of great importance to her. Although I do not know exactly what is in store for me in the days to come, I find it only right to celebrate her life and continue to make her proud with my written word. I am looking forward to taking the wisdom and style she has instilled in me and sharing it with the world just as she did. I glow in pride as I think of her. Smiling her beautiful smile to the very end. Conquering the darkness of the world with her light.
My sweet Mama Pearl,
We did not lose. We won.