I did not run a step for 3 weeks following the Old Pueblo 50 mile race. I knew with the news of my Mother's death the day before the race that it was time to rest for a bit.
I flew out the Tuesday after the race to Nashville, which is where my mother was to be buried. The visitation was from 4-8 pm that day. I had never been to a visitation before, but it ended up being a joyous time to celebrate Mom. Attending were my Mom's 4 surviving siblings and spouses, 3 of my 4 sisters (one was still on the way), my brother, my sister from my Dad's second marriage and a few cousins. My brother had done most of the arrangements, as he lived in Nashville (thank you).
My Mom lived in GA, but it seemed fitting to bury her in Nashville, as she was planning on moving back there and 3 of my siblings live there (and a cousin). We chatted all evening about life and Mom. My sister Lisa had put together several collages of pictures of Mom, which we all enjoyed immensely. I was emotionally wrung out. This day was also the 19th anniversary of my father's death. I still miss him, too.
We arrived at the funeral home the next day an hour prior to the funeral for another 'visitation'. My one sister still hadn't arrived, so we pushed the funeral back a little to see if she might make it. She didn't and we moved forward. My brother and us 4 sisters shared about Mom at the funeral; we were all at the podium together. We really honored my Mom with everything we said. She wasn't the perfect Mom, but there was so much to miss.
After the funeral, I watched as they put the casket in the hearse and then we were off to the cemetary. I thought it was so awesome to treat Mom's death so reverantly. The ride to the cemetary was a long one; traffic pulled over all through town. When we arrived, my sister was there and everyone was glad to see her.
A quick few words by Scott, the pastor who did the service, and they lowered Mom into the ground. Covered with dirt and then flowers, it was done. The rain held off until later on and we were grateful for that. Mom was buried in the same cemetary as her one deceased sister.
The next day, we all got up and drove down to GA (including my half-sister from my Dad's side), where my Mom lived alone. We spent a little time on Thursday looking at things at her house and then 4 of us stayed up late talking about all sorts of things (more healing).
The real work happened Friday. We spent about 7 hours going through her possessions. We kept some, gave away a lot, and threw away some. I got my Mom's 5 year diary from high school, among many other things, and I'll be getting a collectible vanity and sideboard mirror that were in my Grandparent's old farmhouse years ago. It was this day that I found out that not only was I the same shoe size as my Mom, but also the same glove size. A day later, I found out I have the same ring size, too. I have a few pairs of her shoes now, a pair of her gloves, and I hope to have her Garnet ring (her birthstone) once the estate is settled. It all helps me feel that she is a part of me today, even though she is gone.
That day in her house I'll never forget. The one sister that was late for the funeral couldn't stay to help, so it was me and my 4 siblings. We spent the day finding things from our childhood, sharing memories, exploring the past, and meeting a woman that we never fully knew - our Mom. She was a private person and a sentimental one, too. She kept everything.
The healing that began at the visitation continued at my Mom's house. To touch all of her things and get a glimpse into the life she led was cathartic for me. This experience at the house was so rich and full of meaning for me and my siblings. So much healing, so much love, so much sadness, so much joy. To watch all of us in service at my Mom's house was amazing. We cleaned out her whole house, except furniture, with teamwork, love and respect. I am so grateful to have the siblings I do.
We drove back to Nashville that night. I got to spend 7 hours in the car alone with my only brother - I've never spent 7 hours talking to my brother alone!! It was amazing. We talked about our childhood, our father, our mother, our lives, you name it. I will treasure that time forever.
Back home in Tucson a few days later, I still feel in shock about my Mom's sudden death. I got out and did a little walking here and there, and two weeks after OP 50 I hiked up to Wasson Peak with Dallas. 9.2 miles in 3:03. Very cool hike; felt good to be back out there in the desert.
A week later, I made it out to the TTR Mica Mountain run and went up to Cowhead Saddle and back (18.4 miles) in 5:15. I ran a little on the way up (but hiked a lot) and ran a lot on the way down. Felt good to run.
|At Cowhead Saddle in the Rincon mountains|
I'm now back to my morning runs, but short ones (3-5 miles). I ran 9 miles last weekend (4 weeks after OP 50) with my friend Julie from CO and this Saturday, I'll be running the Catalina State Park 10.35 miler, even though I'm not in shape for it at all...
So, I'm still recovering - emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Not just from Old Pueblo 50, but also the sudden death of my Mom. I'm all grown up now, I guess?
After learning about my Mom more after her death, I asked myself why it was that I couldn't have done that when she was alive. The answer is - she let us get to know her as much as she wanted to. I think this was the only way I could get to know her better was after her death.
I found out she was a much more amazing person than I ever thought she was. She raised 6 strong and independent children and was a very strong and independent woman herself. We found out after her death that she had more friends than we thought; we believed that she was lonely and should have been living a 'different' life than she was. She was retired and didn't go out much. But, her life was full of the things that made her happy.
If I wish one thing, it is that I see people for who they are; see through their sometimes crusty facade and see the dreams and aspirations they had as a child or young adult; see the disappointments in relationships as an older adult; realize that they are who they want to be. So often, I saw my Mom fall short of what I thought a Mom 'should be'. I should have appreciated all that she was.
So, I celebrate you now, Mom. I know a lot about who you were now, your faults and your beautiful, kind nature. I know you aren't reading this, but if somehow, you are watching over me, just know that I love you and appreciate so much that you were my Mom. And, I really miss you.