Long Spoons

Motherhood has taught me about my own introversion. It is in no way a dislike of people which drives me to solitude, but the opposite. I feel unable to separate from the pain and emotions of others for very long, this tires me out. Any introverted mother can tell you she recharges while alone and sorts out thoughts, primarily about her children. This is a theme in my life.
Since my daughter died I have needed my own time much more. I find all the smiling and speaking, the coming and going, the living and being, too much sometimes. Walking around behind a wall of hidden tears is hard. This is no secret to anyone. I look for Susanna in the quiet and outside among the trees. Today I set out for a walk and listened to the sound of my feet. I looked for signs all around me. I was walking alone but I did not feel alone.
I went to the park and walked a lap. Someone two thirds of the way around stopped me and asked if I had a pen. I did not, but I wanted to have one. I wanted to be of help for the sake of helping. I went to the salt marsh and walked around the nature trail. A man on a bridge asked me to take a picture of him with his daughter. I looked at them smiling through the phone, the sun sparkling off of her gorgeous red hair, and commented how beautiful that photo was.
Then I walked away and remembered that I do not have a daughter here with me anymore, because my daughter has died. This crushed me again like it does many times every day. I cried and I felt horrible. But I have grown to see that as part of me, and I accepted it.
I noticed this perfect sunny day in May with all of summer stretched ahead. I felt glad to be in Brooklyn today. I had been picturing myself walking alone but I felt grateful to see all the different people, different shapes and sizes and ages. People of different colors and accents. People dressed in ways that reveal their different religions. I am alive and I live here in 2016. I am here to see people stop and photograph their Italian Ices before they eat them, bright rainbow colors bold against the sky. I wanted Susanna to live so much longer but I am so glad I could give her a chance to come here and see all the wondrous things there are to see.
I miss Susanna very much this Mother’s Day. I know she would want to celebrate it with me and make me smile. I wanted her to be here not to make me feel better but so I could do something for her, everything for her like I used to. Doing for her made me happy, and from her first days she always gave love back to me with great appreciation. I do miss that.
There is that story about heaven and hell and long spoons on my mind lately. People in hell are given spoons too long to reach their mouths, and they are hungry. People in heaven are given the same spoons but feed each other and are sated and happy. I hope that someday in the afterlife I can be free of worries and pains so I can help more. I think it is like that. When I get there I know Susanna will show me the way.

By trishfreer

Mother, writer, artist and teacher grappling with grief and loss.

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