It was three days after my mother died.
I hadn't been to Mary's house in years. But it was filled with so much "Mary-ness" that I felt immediately at home.
Mary told me the story of the "Lightning House." It was a story about a couple who moved into this house, recommended by the wife's father, and after he passed away the most remarkable series of house repairs prompted by lightening strikes occurred. Each time the insurance settlement was the exact amount needed for various emergencies and repairs. The couple was actually so spooked they ended up moving.
Then Mary said ... I wonder what signs you will have from your Mom. I laughed. Honestly, I wasn't ready for any signs and I don't want anything to do with lightning. I just want to get through the day without crying.
I had arrived 30 minutes after her time of death. Flying out from San Diego I had imagined arriving at the Woodridge Nursing Home to sit by her bedside, to set my hand on her pale freckled arm, to have her oooh and ahhh over her sweaters that I had worn for her.
But it wasn't like that. Not at all. I arrived at her room in time to sit by her side, but she was no longer there.
That night I got a Facebook message from a dear childhood friend, Lisa (aka Little Lisa) she had had a dream in which she visited my Mom and I. She said she had a fabulous visit with us in her dream.
I laughed, not cried, I laughed. It was just so typical. Mary and Lisa were lifelong friends. In so many ways my Mom shared my friendship with them, just as I shared her Mom-ness with them. They both loved her and they both understood my loss so completely. It made me feel not quite so alone.
Leaving Vermont on the puddle jumper to our connecting flight out of JFK Darin and I didn't have seats next to each other. I sat next to a woman who shared pictures of her grandson and said she hated to fly. But she was visiting her daughter and nothing would stop her. That sounded like my Mom. She would always say before visiting "I just want to get my hands on you."
Exhausted I leaned against the closed airplane window shade and fell asleep. I didn't wake until we were taxiing to our gate at JFK.
I heard a click click click. I looked over to see pale freckled arms knitting away. The woman was wearing my Mom's shirt. The exact shirt. And she was knitting away.
I shoved my face in my jacket and wept.
But this time I wept because I know now that she's always with me. This time I wept because I just got a little inkling of how much I was loved.
And love doesn't go away.