Hi all you beautiful people out there!
While the energy is pumping, I want to tell you about one of my peeps communities right in South Jersey, which to not to be compared to North Jersey and the turnpike, by the way..
As you can see if you’ve read “about me” (and who wouldn’t want to read “about me” and find out what I’m about?) I ran a non-profit called Tapestries of Hope for many years. We offer support to adult daughters who have gone through the loss of their mom’s/mother figures, which is to say, their moms have died. (I hate it when people use all those terms that skirt around the subject: passed away, gone away, etc…) Anyone who has gone through that devastating grief knows that it can change your life forever. So, plain and simple, TOH offers support and education, and a community of daughters, to assist other daughters through that. Well, we have been so successful since our inception, because we are definitely meeting a need, and that success shows up in large crowds on the day we present “Our Moms, Our Memories” which is always the Sunday preceding Mother’s day. This was our 5th event of this type, and all I can tell you is that the energy that is present among our guests could, and does, light up a room!
This year was the best year, and yes, I do say that about each year that we do this-there are incredible moments every year, but the MOST incredible moment is spent in just observing. At many points, during the program, I would stand quietly to the side, and watch–as daughters who had never met each other, connected with each other, or see them eagerly eyeing the slideshow in the front, waiting for their mom’s pictures to be displayed, (and see them lay a hand on the arm of a daughter who was brought to tears on seeing her mom’s picture). My joy was in watching as one of our daughters sang a song in tribute, her voice shaking at one point, and seeing her sister step to her side in support. Another daughter stood to read a poem about what we learn, after our mom’s death, as we search through her purse–all the intangibles that mom left behind. All of us there, we are all ordinary women with many roles to fill-we are raising families as we grieve, we are keeping jobs, we are living life in all the ways necessary, while trying to figure out this “new normal” following our mom’s death. We are questioning ourselves, wondering if we are doing this grief thing “right” (as if such a term exists!). We are crying, grieving, feeling emotions that cover all the words from A-Z….
And then, if we are fortunate, we find other daughters who have stood where we are now standing, and we open our hurting souls to them, and we find out we aren’t alone. There are many out here who are grieving–who knew? We join a support group, we attend the monthly drop-ins, we make friends borne of grief, but nurtured in healing, and, yes, we attend this event, and see that there are an awful lot of daughters standing there with us. We knew intellectually that we weren’t alone, but it sure felt like it….
I wish I could convey to you what it is like for me to be there at Our Moms, Our Memories. I’m there to remember my own mom, Betty Catharine, but I’m there, too, to re-connect with all of the women who are part of my history now. Many of these women were in my groups from years ago, and have traveled with me through the years, eventually landing with me at Tapestries of Hope. We have supported one another throughout so much, not just our mom’s deaths. These daughters are there to hold out their hand to a newly bereaved daughter, to show, through their own lives, that it is possible to build that “new normal”, to find joy again. There were tears on that Sunday-the grief will always be there in some form, but there was so much laughter too-a true reflection of our groups!
A final thought on that day: no matter how many miles I travel in this new life, THAT day will always be marked on my calendar for being in NJ, joining with these daughters who travel with me in my heart. I did a closing meditation that day-all the daughters joined in a circle, and, one by one, we went around and spoke our name, and then said, and I am the daughter of-and said our mom’s name. We are still daughters, we always will be, and our mom’s names are still spoken by us.
As I closed that day, so I will here: may you find peace, may you find hope, may you be blessed,
daughter of Betty Catharine