After a long morning sitting ocean-side listening to rhythmic waves and occasionally wading into the cool aqua waters, Mike and I made our way back to the beach house. I took a long shower then snuggled with Mike into cool sheets to indulge in a midday nap. I dreamed of my momma. Today was July 26th. She would have been 68.
The dream was so real, I was at the beach house straightening up. Picking up damp sandy clothes and towels getting them ready for the laundry. Suffocating sadness descended on me. I stood up and looked at Mike, “I really miss my mom” I told him.
“Just call her” he urged.
“I will”, turning to the nightstand I reached for my cell phone. Then I remembered…she’s gone. I woke with my heart racing. I’ll never be able to talk to her again… And just like that, it was there. Grief. So fresh, so raw, ‘I miss her Father,’ I prayed. ‘Would you please tell her how much I miss her? And tell her I have regrets, and I’m so sorry.’ Sometimes I do that, ask God to give a message to Mom…I do it and I think He hears me. Whether He gives it to her or not is up to Him.
Regrets have walked with me these past three years since Mom’s been gone. For reasons I didn’t understand, I’d always kept some emotional distance between Mom and me. Since my first memories, I tried to be independent. I don’t know exactly when I put up a wall and went into hiding. But I felt safe behind that wall. As I grew up, I rarely let anyone in. Even Momma.
Mom and I loved doing things together, antiquing, sewing, redecorating a room. We talked almost every day, sometimes two or three times a day. But I stopped short of being vulnerable with her. Stopped short of being the hurting little girl I sometime was. Stopped short of letting her comfort me.
I knew in the last five years of her life, I could have swallowed my pride and leaned into her… let her baby me a little. She wanted to and deep down I longed for that deeper relationship. But I never did. So there it was. My biggest regret. The heaviness of that regret ebbed and flowed. Sometimes, it showed up sharp and cutting. Other times it was an ache just below the surface. Either way it had become a part of me. I was getting used to it.
Trying to shake the sadness, I found a quiet place and dove into my latest beach book. Sweet escape. Someone else’s problems. Someone else’s regrets. My current read was a fun one. The protagonist in the book (Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch), is Lin Breedlove. Her life was taking me away from my own. Fifty years old, Lin was going through a divorce and had moved back into her elderly parent’s house. The book had been delightfully humorous despite the subject matter when it suddenly took an unexpected turn.
Lin was distraught, sobbing. Deeply saddened over the course her life was taking. Her mom knocked on the bedroom door. Little hairs on my neck stood up. My skin actually tingled as I read on…
“Mom pulled back to look at me as only a mother can look at a beloved child. ‘Always so independent, so determined, even as a tiny baby. ‘ She smiled, dabbing at her nose. ‘you never wanted to cuddle. I blamed myself for bottle feeding you. And then when you were a little girl, you were so strong and precocious. So strong willed.’ Her voice calmed to a steadier tone. ‘And after Debra was born…‘(my little sister’s name is Debra, did the book actually say Debra? No, I looked again, it said Tommy. After Tommy was born…) “It was as if you felt we’d betrayed you somehow. You withdrew even further into your own little world…”
My throat was tight. In my mind I saw my own momma having this talk with me. I read on…
“You were my one and only, you were fierce, stubborn, independent, doing the best you could do…I loved you then and I love you now.”
I sat there and let the tears come. She knew. Momma knew how sorry I was for not letting her “mother” me. She knew and God allowed her to get a message to me. Did I dare believe that He would do that? Yes. I believed. On her birthday, at the beach, and in a way that only He could arrange, God had given me a gift over time and space from my momma. Thank you Father.