At least in London Spring has arrived. How do I know? It could be the daffodils and the fact that I was walking the dog on solid ground rather than hydroplaning on mud. But the real proof happened Sunday when we mowed the lawn!! Definitely Spring.
Spring was always my mom's favorite time of year. I think it was the reawakening she loved. The buds on the trees, the flowers and the reappearance of water from under the ice on the lake where we lived. My parents anniversary is in April-another reason she loved Spring for the past 64 years.
My sisters and I gathered a few weeks ago with my father. It has been about 6 months since my mother's death. We sorted out some things she had wanted to pass onto us and just were together. For my family just being together is busy and bustling just as it has always been but sadly minus my mom.
I remember spring afternoons and the first trips out to the lake to reopen the camp. The smell of moth balls as we opened the door, the first rusty water as we primed the pump, sweeping the spider webs from the outhouse and relaunching the row boat. Then there were summer afternoons after Sunday mass. The hum of the rotisserie and smell of roast beef as it went round on the grill awaiting the arrival of my sisters, brother in laws , nephews and nieces . Later in the afternoon we would all be in the pool (literally as those unwilling were tossed in fully clothed) and building block prymids while eating watermelon. In autumn we would be shining the silver getting ready for for Thanksgiving. Table after table set up in the basement for the feast followed by pumpkin pie and counting the silver back into the silverware box to make sure none was thrown away. I remember children and family and laughter and my mom who seemed to orchestrate it all calmly despite having been up at 5am with my Dad making French stuffing for the two turkeys.
During this past visit with my Dad I kept remembering a quote from the movie "Shadowlands". While they are enjoying a lovely afternoon together, Joy ( a pragmatic New Yorker who is dying of bone cancer) tells C S Lewis that "The happiness we feel now is part of the pain we feel later. It's part of the deal."
When we regather as family and I feel the loss of my mom I know it is because of the wonderful times we shared. It's part of the deal.