Yesterday when I was training, I embraced the fact that my 41-year-old body was breathing hard, sweating profusely and straining to "stay in the fight," as my coach says. As my heart pounded and it became harder to catch my breath, I thought of my mom, who didn't live to see her 45th birthday because her body quit on her. I relished the feeling of my beating heart and I dedicated every breath, every step, every effort to her.
She can no longer, so I will.
I am of her blood and her bone; she continues to live through me and through my sister who has since given life to three little boys who will never know our mother, but will understand how amazing she was because we will tell them stories and show them pictures. And when they're old enough to have such awareness, they'll come to understand who she was because they will recognize her influence in the way their own mother and aunt treat others and embrace life. They will say, "She must have been a remarkable woman. I wish I could have met her."
My grief is bittersweet. More than anything, I just feel tender. My heart feels weighty in my chest with a sorrow that will always be, but it's also heavy with gratitude for having Mom in my life for 19 years.
Have you ever listened to a song countless times and then suddenly one day you hear the lyrics for the first time -- I mean really hear them? That's what happened to me this morning with this song that's been on my starred playlist for months. I looked up the song lyrics today and then found a homemade video on YouTube that serves as a perfect visual metaphor for how I often feel when I think about Mom. This lonesome, dark road I sometimes travel is also wondrous and beautiful. And even though I can't see what lies ahead and there are moments of total darkness, I always find myself back on solid ground -- the lines of the road clearly marked and beckoning me to keep moving. And so I do. Gladly.
That Knot Unties
David Karsten Daniels