March 20 .
Today is the first day of spring. I heard that several times today. yes, today is the first day of spring.
But for me, March 20 holds a larger significance. March 20 is the day I said goodbye to my mom forever here on earth. March 20 is my mom's heavenly birthday, if you want to say that. My friend, Andrea, calls it her angel day. It could be referred to as many things. But for me, March 20 will be a day forever engrained in my heart and mind.
I started this blog 3 years ago, in the process of digging through my grief. The blog has blossomed and grown over time, and my journey of grief has graduated into finding purpose in my pain. My blog here, One Day at a Time, has become much more than just a place to work out my grief. One Day at a Time has come to have new meanings and purpose in my life.
Each year, when the anniversary of mom's death comes around, I ponder on many things.
I will always think about my beautiful mama. The one who raised me and taught me the truths.
I will always think about the wonderful life she lived; the wonderful woman she was.
Mom always had a smile; she was always laughing, even in hard times.
Mom prayed about everything.
Mom was private. She had her handful of close friends. Everyone loved mom, but not everyone was let into the depths of her thoughts.
Mom was a giver.
Mom was a servant.
Mom radiated the love of Jesus to those around her.
I miss my mom every day still. It looks different over time, but that ache of not having her is still there in some ways. It's a peaceful ache, but still an ache. This year, in raising a middle school daughter, and in facing some dramatic life changes and difficulties, and in growing in my own beliefs, I have longed to have mom to talk with about all these things. If she didn't have the right words, she always had a hug and at least some form of encouragement. I miss that.
I recently was having a conversation with my 11 year old daughter. When I asked her who her "hero" was, she told me without hesitation, "Nana was." I didn't even have to ask her why; she just started telling me..."Nana was always loving and showing Jesus, even when times were hard for her. Nana was fun. She loved people even when they were hard to love." Yep, that sums up my mom really well.
I long to be the mom my mom was. I am far from it. I have made many mistakes and not always shown my children the right choices or way to live for God. Thank goodness my mom also taught me about God's grace. And I hope to teach that to my children. I want to be the mom my mom was.
Every mom and every home situation is a bit different, yes. But my mom gave me a great basis for how to do it. I am so grateful for the example she left me.
I said it today to my friend, Jennie, and I say it now: it was just like mom to go home to heaven on the first day of spring. Every year this day is so much more symbolic to me than what one person may be saying the first day of spring is to them.
Spring is a new season being ushered in, and after long, cold winters, everyone is ready for warmth and new growth and beauty and joy.
When mom went home to be with Jesus, it was like she was saying "This is my new season...I will be forever healthy. Now, Rachael, it's your new season. Keep moving forward. See the beauty. See the "Son", see the growth. Embrace this new season."
So each year on March 20, as spring is now official, I reflect on mom and her life because this is the day I had to let go of her here on earth. But it is also symbolic to me that I have made it another year, and another winter, and I am going to be okay. Spring is here.
This winter has been an extremely challenging one. And though today was a tough day in some ways, I also want to see it as a beautiful one. It is time to move forward. To let go of the winter days this past season has left me. And to allow the new growth I am seeing sprout. to allow the new things I am learning to bloom out. To allow the grey clouds to be pushed away and the sun to start shining through (translation: strive to push past the hard times and move into the good; strive to see God in every moment instead of dwelling on the past and the difficult days) .
i have made it one more year.
Mom has been gone 3 years now. But she is in a perfect place. A place where I think it is spring all the time.
So, it is time for me to re-embrace spring; to re-embrace life. And to bloom forth. Remembering my beautiful mom still and all she taught me, one day at a time.
Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mom. I will forever miss you.