Never Intended to Share This

This morning while sipping my coffee and listening to an audio book, I suddenly had the urge to write. With no clear direction of what I was about to write, I opened up Word to just start typing whatever thoughts were coming. I was in for a surprise though, because my computer must have updated. Word looked totally different and was all in dark mode. There was this weird list of old documents taking up over half of my screen. Suddenly one of them immediately caught my eye. It was titled, “Christmas Shopping with Momma.”. Huh…I clicked on it, and that whole day came flooding back. I never had any intention of sharing this story I wrote back in 2018. It was just for my own memories, but something is pushing me to share it today. I believe someone out there must need a reminder that our loved ones who have passed never really leave us. You just have to be open to seeing the signs they are putting in your path. Grief is a painful journey, but when we realize that we still have a connection with the ones no longer physically with us, somehow it makes it more bearable. Ask them for a sign…you just might be surprised how they show up to let you know you aren’t alone.

Christmas Shopping with Momma

Why do the best thoughts flow when I’m pressured to be getting up early in the morning? My mind is a whirlwind tonight.  It’s been a weird week for me emotionally. I miss my Mom. I’ve been flooded with memories, sadness, regrets, thankfulness and emptiness. My sister, Hannah has been trying to get me to go out and do something for the past 3 months, and I haven’t had the energy or desire. I’d want to, and then when the time would come, I couldn’t move.  So I stayed home. I didn’t want normal. I was scared of it actually.

Today was different. I woke up, and met Hannah and my precious little nephew for a haircut with our new found friend and barber. Syler was adorable and perfect for his haircut. I kept thinking how much I wished Momma were there to see him. She would have melted just like I did. When we were all done, I mentioned to Hannah that it would be nice to go do some errands with her today. She said she would text me. I got in my car to head home, and felt the ever-familiar sting in my eyes signaling a cry was coming.  I flipped on my music, and let the tears flow for a few minutes. I swear I felt Momma hold my hand at one point, or maybe it was just the warmth of the sun through the window…or it was Momma.  I like to think it was Momma.

I got home and Hannah and I made plans to meet later in the evening. We met for dinner, shared photos, videos and voicemails of Momma that we’d come across. Thank god for technology!  I’m sure the people in that restaurant didn’t know what to think about us sitting at our table laughing with tears spilling down our faces while passing our phones back and forth.  Oh well. Let ‘em wonder.  It was therapeutic and so needed.  This grieving business is no joke.

We headed to Ross in search of birthday treasures for our sister. We were having entirely too much fun, and we both started to notice little things that made us think of Momma. A frame that said “I love you, Mom”.  A plaque that read, “I’m so glad you’re my Mom.”.  Funny how those simple sayings strum a different string in our hearts now, and send vibrations of ache and longing all the way to the depths of our souls.

Once we had nearly reached our budgets end in Ross, we headed over to TJMaxx. This has been a long time favorite store of Momma and mine for years.  We could get lost for hours in there.  Hannah and I walked in and were immediately greeted by two adorable little Christmas Tomte’s, something I introduced Momma to a couple of years ago. They have a Swedish background, and since we are Swedish, we have been obsessed with the funny bearded fellas ever since.

She Met Us in the Children’s Books

Next, we hit up the children’s section.  We found the children’s books and I picked up a Christmas themed Cheerio counting book. Hannah and I both immediately started crying. Momma used to read the Cheerio counting book with Daniel, our youngest brother at his nap-time when he was a little dude. We laughed and cried, and I put the book in our cart.  I turned back to the books, and there was another… “Guess How Much I Love You”.  Queue more waterworks, a few “Dammit Momma…you’re really making us cry”, and plenty of sniffling that was causing some people to look our direction yet again tonight.  We worked our way to another book shelf and found Goodnight Moon, Five Little Monkey’s, Curious George, and a few more of Momma’s favorites that all hold special memories for us in one way or the other.  We laughed through our tears, and embraced what can only be explained as a momentary spiritual connection with our mother. .

The rest of the shopping trip was filled with both of us finding so many things that were just loaded with Momma memories, or things she would have bought for us.  Christmas décor, blankets, socks, and we can’t forget the adorable snowman slippers that I’m quite certain she would be wearing before this Christmas season is over.   Yeah…Momma went shopping with Hannah and me tonight. She was right there with us, showing us things, making us laugh and I’m sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that we made her laugh a few times too. It’s just what we were good at with her, and making her laugh was always the best.

I’m home now, curled up under my brand-new llama blanket I found tonight that matches the llama pillow Momma bought for me last December.  Hannah is home with her 5 pennies she found on her bedroom floor for each of us siblings tonight after reading a story in TJMaxx about random pennies being sent to us by passed loved ones to let us know how much they love and care for us.  In just a few days it will mark a year since we learned about Momma’s cancer.   A few days after that will mark a year since we learned we had less than 9 months left with her.  It’s been the darkest road we’ve ever walked…or are still walking.  Tonight though, there was some light. It peeked through, and surrounded Hannah and me. It wrapped us up, and reminded us that she’s still with us, around us, in us. We carry her with us always. Cancer is greedy and takes and takes and takes, but the one thing it can’t ever take are our memories. It can’t take moments like tonight.  Momma showed cancer and death who was boss tonight and went shopping with 2 of her girls, and she had a damn good time doing it.

I love you, Momma.  I’m thinking we need to go to HomeGoods next.