The rain fell upon us in a downpour. We dashed from our car into Town Hall unable to avoid the deep puddles around the car. When we finally arrived inside the building, the sight of an elderly woman peering out from the door caught my eye. “Can we help you” I asked? The gray haired woman was sweet, holding her shopping bag in one hand and cane in another. “I have a car but no umbrella” she responded. I assured her that with my son’s help, we could walk her to the car safely while keeping her dry from the rain. She accepted our offer and we proceeded out the double doors of the historic building down the steep front steps. As I held her tight on one side, Andrew balanced the umbrella over her head, careful not to let one raindrop fall on her. Then I asked the woman “What is your name?” She responded “My name is Joan.” (The same name as my mom.)
This simple encounter with Joan was an unexpected yet beautiful event. I had been worried lately – wondering if I had changed and forgotten what life was like with mom by my side. My happy reaction to the chance meeting with Joan assured me that mom’s loving, gentle spirit will always guide my life, even if I do evolve and change.
It is hard to remain the same when life throws you curveballs. At first we want to stay the same and assure everyone that life is fine and won’t be different. But overtime, we realize that this is not possible and change is inevitable. Change can be very good for those who have faced difficult losses but it can also take time to accept these changes in ourselves. I’ve slowly started to take stock of the ways I am changing since my mom went home to God nearly two years ago. It took me some time to realize that these changes were good and would help me live a fulfilling life in spite of the pain of her loss.
Since losing mom, I have discovered that I am stronger than I thought possible. I am able to handle difficult situations more patiently and with trust that all will work out. I am also not as worried about what others think or say about me – I accept myself as I am. This is something my mom taught me over a lifetime and I am finally able live it more fully. I am slowly changing in others ways too – trying to embody the heroic virtues (faith, love, hope, kindness and many more) that described my mom’s life so well. More than anything, I have become deeply grateful for each day I am given. The day may involve back pain or some other type of struggle, but I am grateful for life. I am grateful for my beautiful family and friends and the time we spend together. I am also grateful for that chance encounter with Joan this morning. This lovely woman reminded me that my mom Joan is always close and with me in spirit, whenever I need her.