Spring Next


Jonathon and I spent some time today going through Mom’s things. We didn’t have much. We’d sorted it from the pre-sorted move to Shelton. I have several of her things, like jewelry and scarves. For the first 2 weeks after she died, I reached for earrings that belonged to her or ones she gave me. Every day. It helped me feel closer to her and allowed me to sit with the pain instead of drowning it somehow.

We found Mom’s old Navy photos. We found photos of her conducting the Navy WAVES chorus. We found photo albums of generations past and present. A white photo album contained newspaper clippings of Mom’s “betrothal” announcement and wedding pictures. The “Baltimore society” section tracked the wedding’s progress. This was pre-paparazzi, obviously.

Letters I wrote from college were in my baby book.

“Dear Mom…my roommate is a vocal major…I’m still trying to work out a walking schedule…”

Then, I found several Mother’s Day cards I’d sent. She kept them in a plastic bag. Mother’s Day cards were sometimes heartfelt, sometimes goofy. Some had pictures of toddler Zac in them. Good news, though: my handwriting *was* legible then.

I found a picture of her wearing Zac’s helmet from when he was a knight, I think back in first grade.  Many, many pictures of cats past, and a few of boyfriends past. Priorities. 

Our relationship wasn’t always great. We had differences of opinions. She railed at me for choosing to attend a Bible college. I didn’t agree with her choice of male companions.

“You have such good grades; you could go anywhere. You’re throwing your life away!” she said angrily.

But I knew it was God’s thing for me. And I met Jonathon, as well as some of my very best friends. She came around. Eventually.

One of Dad’s sisters sent a condolence card.

“Losing your mother feels like a hole in the heart,” she wrote.  My eyes swam.

Yes. Like that.

Meanwhile, I continue to do schoolwork and put my whole heart into it. In fact, I probably over-analyze every assignment. It helps to concentrate on something, anything, right now. I’m safe inside the bubble of academia and its regimented rubrics. I know what’s required of me and when it’s due. Yet as soon as I submit something, I second-guess myself.

“Oh, I forgot to include X. Wait, did I discuss the history of the rise of that public policy enough? Did I have enough sources?” On and on. I have to take myself by the scruff of the neck and say, “Stop it! You did your best. Now let it go.”

I’ve spent a lot of time playing ball with Dakota today. The rain stopped, though the wind still blows. It’s still cold, still winter. But pussy willows have appeared. The camellia bush has small, hard buds that will be lovely hot-pink flowers in a month. I must remember that spring follows the winter, always. I don’t have to force it. It will come.

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven… – Ecclesiastes 3:1