Deanna Shares on Loss, Letting Go and What Mom Meant to Her

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Sometimes there are events in life that just are too big to put into words… Too much to capture with letters and marks and spaces! Sometimes it takes some time… Some distance to be able to get thoughts out in a way that can make sense.

Maggie’s death is one of those events for me! Usually when someone dies there is a method… A traditional method of steps for letting go! There is a funeral and a service and flowers and others sharing loss… With you! There is dressing in black and driving, sitting, listening, crying, watching, feeling your black patent leather pumps that you haven’t worn in years…sink their little pointed heels deep into the earth as you stand there…watching a box being lowered into the ground with someone you loved inside! There is more listening, more watching, more driving and then there is the eating!

This… This is how I have experienced letting go… Of shedding grief…at least in part that I might bear it! I’ve experienced this grief scenario way to many times to count!! But it’s what I know and in some odd way feels tremendously comfortable. Letting go of Maggie was different!

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For anyone to understand the impact Maggie had on my life and what she meant to me I’ll need to go back to a time and a place I’ve spent most of my life trying to forget. I was 8. My entire world had crashed and I had lost everything an 8 year old has to lose!

My mom ran off to be with another family, my Dad could not deal with that or with us, my brother and I were ripped from the home we knew and sent to our grandparents house… Our friends, our toys, our rooms, our cool back yard with an awesome playhouse…gone! Our school, our teachers, our routines, the way my mom cooked and smelled and loved… Just gone! I was 8.

It was October. I had been thrown into this horrible place called McGaugh! It wasn’t my sweet little elementary school… There wasn’t anything nice or good about it!! I hated every minute!! My friends Pamela and Lynette and Floyd and Kerry and Jana were gone! These new kids at Mc Gaugh were mean and rude and did not like me at all!

I was weird and tall and broken! They could see my brokenness and weakness! And as with any pack animal, Weakness was their target! The Patsy and the Becky and the other she-wolves had lots of fun at my expense! It became my norm during recess or any free undirected time at school to hide out behind a wall of one of the buildings… Not too many kids there so I could get a break!

On one particular day as I was losing it on that wall… Crying my eyes out… Wanting to be anywhere else other than right there…2 girls from my class approached me! They both smiled but one did all the talking. She asked me if I was ok. I was 8. It was October. It was Ree.

Those girls had no idea how they saved me that day! They instantly became my best friends! It wasn’t very long after that, that I began going to their houses after school! They had pet rats so I got a pet rat!! We had favorite things we shared… They were each their favorite animal… Ree a Tiger, Jana a Lion…so I became a cheetah!

Almost 50 years later I still think of them both as these animals!!!  Their likes became my likes… Their worlds became my worlds…and biggest of all, their families became my family! Their families were everything I believed families to be… Or should be!!! Loving nurturing moms!! Supportive strong Dads!! Siblings working on being better at life each day! Dance lessons,  music lessons, chores!!! It was right and normal and good and I inserted myself into all of it!

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But most of all and best of all there was Maggie! She was different… Way different than any woman I had ever met in my short little life! She was loud and funny! She was opinionated and verbal, she was strong and adventurous!!! Art and talent and ability oozed from her! She was creative and real!! She was warm and safe and I fell in love with her! She became my mother!

Being a mother is a tremendous job! Maggie always rose to the occasion in every situation that presented itself in my life!! Lots of love, lots of encouragement, accountability, lots of good sound advice! But more than any of that she was always a safe harbor! She always felt like home! As an adult there are many of Maggie’s influences that are apparent in many facets of my life! I put up an orange and white Christmas tree! I paint rocks, I play a guitar, I love the ocean, I am opinionated, I am strong willed, I love to be surrounded by my stuff, I love fiercely, I’ll fight to the death for those I love, and I take in strays! I search for Maggie’s words …Maggie’s ways many times in my head.   She gave me so much!!! She saved me!!

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I watched Maggie face death and I watched her life slip away from her! She was strong and funny and made me feel loved even through that when we were together! The lady never stopped giving to me!!!

She gave me her dinning room table! It was the most precious gift she could have ever ever given me!! My salvation sat around that table! My family sat around that table and ate together and laughed! Projects and art were created on that table!!! Discussions and ideas and plans were discussed… Music was made!

I sit at it now and all of it comes flooding back!!! Those precious memories when all was right and good and strong and together!! She gave me a little silver ring… Strangely and most appropriately its in the shape of a little belt, with diamonds and a buckle!!! How could that even begin to get more ironic???? Maggie was my buckle at a time in my life that I needed to be held together!!! She wrapped herself around me and gave me sturdiness! She pulled snugly so that I felt safe and secure at a time when my world was not safe… Was not secure!

I know Maggie had no love for God! She did not believe there was one… Or at least one for her! But I have to laugh at how divinely appointed she was!!! How God placed her and used her! I know I was not the only stray in her life! I know she had many friends that needed her, cherished her and are better because of her! God knew exactly what lots of us needed!!

On a lighter note because all of this emotional stuff is soooo friggin heavy….Maggie gave me the best cleaning tips ever!!! Get out cleaners…gloves, brushes and rags… Set them all on the counter! Open cleaners and splash on rags and maybe a bit on the counter… To make sure the smell gets out!!!! Go sit and have a Pepsi while the fresh smell of cleaners permeates a room!! Hubby comes home to a fresh house… And is impressed you’ve been cleaning all day!!!  I love you Maggie Mom!!! … For always!!!

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