In general, I am a very social person, and often crave a few days without speaking per year in order to balance that out. Sometimes I will reserve from one to three days around my birthday, the end of January, to create a silent retreat. This year my need for being silent was even stronger and I scheduled two-and-a-half days of quiet introspection even earlier…over New Year’s Weekend from December 31st through January 2nd.
On December 30th, the day before my at-home, non-speaking period was about to begin, my brother called to remind me that January 2nd is the memorial of my mother’s death. My mother, or “Moms” as she liked to refer to herself, passed away after 2-years of medical treatment for breast cancer on January 2, 1999. I imagine her looking at a fresh new calendar, considering how long she had already been suffering painful symptoms, and letting herself go.
When my brother mentioned that date, I truly felt surprised at first. I had “forgotten” the date of her memorial, at least intellectually. There have been many years without conscious reflection about my mother on that date, and I am apparently ‘overdue’ for an experience of commemoration for her this year.
Sometimes the body knows more than the mind does. Actually, for a person who is very oriented towards physical experiences (like me), it is especially useful to let one’s intuition help be a guide. I had been feeling “down”…a little “bummed” and could not figure it out until that talk with my brother, and the realization of my mother’s passing.
So today is January 2nd, and I am home alone and quiet. It is rainy outside and my responsibilities have already been postponed. It is a perfect environment to spend some time looking at my mother’s photos, hold a few belongings I have of hers, light a candle in her honor, and write this blog post to share here on Body Aware Grieving.
The first thing I did was play the song The World Unseen by Rosanne Cash. I mentioned this album in a previous article titled, The Comfort of Empathy. There is a link in that post to listen to the actual song I was playing while taking out the photos and other items of my mother. The Unseen World has become a grief anthem of sorts to me. As soon as I hear it, I start crying and can play it over and over until I am ready to stop. It has actually become a very useful tool in helping move into, and out of sad moments.
Here is a short video I made about the memorial moments held this afternoon.
As time passes, feelings and attitudes can shift and develop, about a person who has departed or other important event. One’s own maturation and current life experiences can make the past look different each time one turns around to reflect for a few moments. Today I really appreciated some new things about my mother and our time together. Spending some time like this today has been very sweet.