I got choked up over chicken salad at lunch today.
I didn’t write about Mother’s Day, because truthfully, it’s not my favorite holiday since Mom died. I don’t think it’s any major secret that I’m not really over it yet. So anyway, I was at Arby’s, minding my own business, when Rascal Flatts “What Hurts Most” started playing. And for some reason, the chorus just floored me. Right there in Arby’s. It was more than a little pathetic.
What hurts the most
Was being so close
And having so much to say
And watching you walk away
And never knowing
What could have been
And not seeing that loving you
Is what I was tryin’ to do
Right before Mom passed on, we had more or less worked out a lot of the typical mom-and-daughter baggage. We had gotten to that place where we really could talk to each other, and found we had a lot to say to each other. But I never did get to say that what she probably thought was me judging her, was really me thinking that she deserved so much more than what she counted herself worth. I was trying to love her when I got after her for smoking, or for not taking care of her health. But it probably came across to her as criticism, and judgment. And of course, it hurts to not know what it would have been like if she’d lived to see and know Madeline, Lindsey, Lucas and Sophie. It seems like there’s this other timeline out there, this “what if she were still here” that sort of haunts me, for lack of a better word.
So anyway, I choked down my chicken salad, and went back to work, where a lovely catastrophe was waiting to rescue me. The catastrophe got resolved, as it usually does, and mostly I was just grateful to be busy, and have my mind fully engaged. But the whole thing made me think about do-overs. I think we all want at least one do-over in life. We get stuck, and think if we could just go back and fix that one thing, then everything would be as it should be.
And that’s wrong. Wrong as in “morally wrong,” because it’s a rejection of God’s sovereignty, and wrong as in “inaccurate.” Reality is as it’s supposed to be. When we make that decision, that somehow, somewhere God screwed up and allowed reality to go somewhere it wasn’t supposed to go, we break with reality itself. It prevents us from connecting with and living fully in the reality we’ve got, this longing for a reality that isn’t and never will be. We get stuck, and become ghosts of a sort, stuck between realities.
It’s natural to grieve and to acknowledge the loss. As sad as it is that Mom isn’t here to be with and enjoy her kids and grandkids, it would be even sadder if we let her passing keep us from being really “here” as well.