Fake Grass and All My Feelings About Love

"Was it the puppies that did it?"  The waitress asked as my mom shoved her half eaten plate away from her.  It was our annual family beach trip which always includes a rope all 20+ something of us together and go reek havoc on a unsuspecting restaurant affair.  The puppies in question were hush puppies, glorious fried bits of Southern heaven (no longer on my Yogi approved diet), which tend to fill you up making the giant pile of friend shrimp and potatoes (also no longer on my Yogi approved diet) they plop down in front of you for your main meal useless.

My mother, being the fantastic sport that she was, looked up at the waitress with sad eyes, a heavy brow, and replied, "I think it was.  It was the puppies that did it."  Then we all burst into giggles.

That's how I remember her most.  Laughing.  Loud.  Joyous.  Doubled over in the Belk's department store cackling.

After she died I read somewhere that you never really get over the death of a mother just learn how to live with it.  I think that's true.

The waves of grief come and go.  The more time that passes between her death and where I currently am the more time between the roils of sadness.  But they still come.  Especially during holidays.  Or when I do something amazing.  Or when I'm trying to make a decision.  Or when I'm wandering around Tar-jay wishing she were here to buy me a, "Yay you for losing weight wardrobe."

My practices-yoga, diet, exercise, years of therapy, and the support network I have in place-never allow me to get swallowed up like I used to.  But it's a tide I know I'll have to weather for the rest of my life.

When I get married.  Or pregnant.  She won't be there.  When we celebrate Christmas.  Or Thanksgiving.  She won't be there.  When I change jobs.  Or start my own practice.  She won't be there.

She won't be there for any of it.  And I didn't realize just how profoundly her absence was affecting my ability to let unconditional love into my life.  To make decisions.  To settle.  Until I started this April Yogidetox and re-watched the movie Away We Go.

And suddenly it all made sense.  When you've lost one of the people who loves you the most in the world.  Who loves you without conditions or expectations.  Who even in their sometimes flawed and awful way only wants the best for you.  Only wants you to, "Do what makes your heart happy."  Exposing yourself to that kinda love.  Opening yourself up to that again.  Is terrifying.  Because you know exactly how much it hurts when you lose it.  You know exactly how many cartons of Ben & Jerry's it takes to keep the tears at bay.  How many years of slumped shoulders and feeling completely and utterly confused and overwhelmed by life you have to zombie through.  How awful it is to lose everything.  And how much effort it takes to dig yourself out and start again.

So when someone asks you to do that.  Asks you to settle with them.  Says you should start seeing clients.  Promoting your yoga.  Building roots, and a life, and stability.  You run the other way because, "Are you crazy?  It's taken seven years, 50 pounds, and a move across the country to heal from my mom's death I'm not about to build something else I could lose."

Then your boyfriend buys you an Easter basket and signs the post-it note, "Love the EB," like your mom used to do and you realize she's not absent.  Just a little quieter.  That she lives on through the very love I'm so terrified of receiving.  Through the roots, and stability, and family, and laughter I'm afraid to create.

And she'd be so pissed to know that I was timid about having those things.  That I was even pausing to consider their risk.  Because she never did.

She laughed often and loudly.  She ran and swam and worked and volunteered and built a full, rich life.  She settled.  And had a family and friends.  She made memories and loved the people in her life so much it sometimes hurt.

And even though she sometimes questioned those things and had moments of doubt, and fear, and anxiety.  She did them anyway.

And now I know that's what I have to do.

I have to drop-in and ski the line.  Ride the wave.  Walk the line.  See clients.  Promote my yoga.  Build my life.

Happy Easter everyone.  I hope the EB was good to you. ;)


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