This morning I woke acutely aware that a mother woke–if she slept at all–and went to ready her 7 year old for school before she was stunned to her knees in horror at the realization that this is the dawn of the first day of her life without that child in it…
I woke with tears on my cheeks for another mother in a hospital bed who holds her baby close, breathing deeply of that baby smell, knowing these are the last moments on this earth she will have with her sweet baby, that this child’s memories of her mommy will be only what her daddy tells her…
I woke with grief for a dear friend who is trying to make a life without her husband of 28 years…I can’t imagine…
I woke missing my own mother, gone from this earth for years now, yet the need for her still cutting as sharply as it did that day–maybe even more so because I know tis futile…I got up to make my tea, my beloved ones sleeping peacefully around me, the house dark and quiet. And so began the day with part of this prayer:
(St. Augustine Prayer, I think it is)
Tend your sick ones,
O Lord Jesus Christ,
rest your weary ones,
bless your dying ones,
soothe your suffering ones,
pity your afflicted ones,
shield your joyous ones,
and all for your love’s sake
…shield your joyous ones–help us see the joy…
(A Facebook post of mine I wanted to share and keep)
–Hope Edelman, Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss
I’ve been a Motherless Daughter for 14 years and counting…
“It was a world I’d never been to and yet had known was there all along, one I’d staggered to in sorrow and confusion and fear and hope. A world I thought would both make me into the woman I knew I could become and turn me back into the girl I’d once been. A world called the Pacific Crest Trail.” — Cheryl Strayed
‘Wild’ is a memoir of the author’s time hiking the Pacific Crest Trail following the loss of her mother and the breakup of her marriage. At the time of the journey, her life is spinning out of control and she is homeless and orphaned and feeling utterly alone in the world.
“Maybe I was more alone than anyone in the whole wide world. Maybe that was okay.”
While I am a motherless daughter and there was SO much in this book I could identify with, when I gave it some thought, this passage seems to be my most significant takeaway:
“As difficult and maddening as the trail could be, there was hardly a day that passed that didn’t offer up some form of what was called trail magic…the unexpected and sweet happenings that stand out in stark relief to the challenges of the trail…”
The passage stuck with me because I am an eternal optimist. I don’t have bad days, only less than stellar moments. Every day there are good things happening and it is those moments I choose to focus on…these moments of joy can be called by many names, trail magic fits.
This memoir is so well told, so descriptive and bluntly emotional–not emotional as in sobbing and sad but raw and honest. The pages practically turned by themselves. Whether you are a motherless daughter or still have your mother in this world, this book is a riveting story of how the author coped with devastating loss and terrifying aloneness, with spiraling out of control yet always knowing that moving forward is key.