Everybody has a story. And there’s something to be learned from every experience. – Oprah Winfrey
My mother and I connected after the passing of my father, we had an analogous pain causing us to seek strength in each other. She had just lost her lifetime partner and I the man I adore and love so much. Yes, I am such a daddy’s girl and I own it. On any other day, when he was still alive I would have chosen to hang around where he was and even go through pains to come up with a topic that would spark a conversation with him that we would debate.
I loved his company and learned so much from him. He really was my hero.
Fast forward, after losing my father I found my mother waiting at the end of that road to embrace me and pick me up where I felt lost, broken and paralyzed. Really I did not know what to do next, my being and worth had hung on my father’s existence with no expectation for an end. But my mom had allowed herself to remain in the background, though somehow there is a tacit sense I get that she orchestrated and encouraged the bond and I appreciate her even more for that wisdom.
When you lose someone you love, a part of you fades. But with me, everything went numb. It was the stories my mother told me of herself when she was growing up as we mourned our beloved that restored my will to live. A humble upbringing, similarly, her father’s love was was all she could rely on considering that her step mother tyranny. A tyranny that ultimately birthed resilience in my mother that was similar to that of the shell of a tortoise and a love as tender as that of a rose unfolding the gift of its beauty in the midst of spring. My mother gave me the gift of knowing her a little bit more than I had ever allowed myself.
Her stories are so full of countless moments of rejection, hurt, hate, pain and betrayal. Yet a sense of victory hangs around her every time she finishes her stories. As if an she never was alone through every encounter. When she was sent out late at night to go buy food stuff at a convenience shop that was a long distance distant from home because her stepmother had protested saying, “this one is afraid of nothing”. She would not dare send her own darling children and she saw my mother fit to encounter whatever fate waited along the way. Mom vividly recollects another time she was so ill with mumps she had to walk herself yet another long distance whilst braving an intolerable fever causing her to collapse under a tree before she could get to the clinic. A passerby who happened to know her father found her passed out and helped her walk the rest of the distance.
I find courage in knowing my mother’s journey because it recounts a grace and presence of God. I know now that my father was most blessed to have had her in his corner. This also makes me reflect on my own life’s path and I do acknowledge that though we are given free will there is a greater power that paves our path.
It is in submission to the great unknown (God) and letting go a little of the need to control and dictate who, what and were we should be that we can fully experience and appreciate our journey. To allow our paths to fall in the hands of the porter and graciously allow for our paths to be formed, carved and paved that as we walk, run, stumble and navigate our way we may know that there is a greater good that guides us.