Four years ago, my sister and I numbly went through the motions of opening several months worth of Mom’s mail on Mother’s Day, just days after she completed her life.
Four years ago I was in shock, bewildered and bereft.
Four years ago seems like a lifetime ago, and the woman who cried her way through the Summer, Fall and Winter, and then wrote her way through the Spring and ultimately “meditated” herself back to life is the same woman who calmly sits at her keyboard preparing to end this blog that was once so vital to her emotional survival.
Four years of evolution.
What has changed? Mostly, my perspective, but more specifically, almost everything.
Four years ago I lived in Manhattan with my love, Gary Smoot. I was still new to Vedic Meditation. I was performing musical theatre; a lifelong passion. Even though I understood that parents can leave you too soon after my dad died in ’09, I still was not totally prepared for the graphic realism of caring for my mom during the final month of her life.
Four years later I no longer live in Manhattan, but rather Los Angeles, a move inspired by the illness and eventual death of my love, Gary Smoot (yes, three years almost to the day after my mom completed her life). I am not only an experienced Vedic Meditator, but I am now credentialed to teach Vedic Meditation after spending several months in India with my teacher, Thom Knoles. Now I have two passions, theatre arts and teaching meditation. Even though caring for Gary for the final months of his life has been my greatest challenge to date, I had the emotional tools to lovingly and cheerfully advocate for him while also taking care of myself. This significant achievement I credit to my meditation practice.
So there you have it. Four years of change, but how have I evolved? My perspective through it all continues to root itself in the knowledge that I haven’t “lost” Mom and Gary, but rather I have gained invaluable life experience that they are still very much a part of. I don’t wither when Mother’s Day approaches, I celebrate, because Mom continues to be a presence in my life whether it’s her voice in my head, or the looks and gestures of my family, even in my own reflection, there she is. My love for Gary continues to grow as I recognize the countless gifts he’s given me, whether it’s a conscious activation of my child-like wonder in his honor, or trying something new that I think he would enjoy. Gary is with me always as I promised him he would be. And as I prepare to open myself up to new romantic love and new adventures with a special someone, I know that Gary is my advocate as much as I am his. Anyone who falls in love with me gets the special bonus of falling in love with Gary, too. That’s the deal.
If you haven’t had four years to process the death of your mom, I’m so sorry that you’re still in that tender place. I remember it well and I think I know how you feel. I encourage you to be very sweet and understanding with yourself at this time.
While I can no longer sustain a blog dedicated solely to feelings about my mom, I have a new blog that I’m very proud of. You are welcome to visit jameyhoodmeditation.com and subscribe to Pilot Light Blue, the blog portion of my studio where I’ll be exploring the idea of “accessing joy even during challenging times.”
My experience with grief has been my greatest teacher and I’d love to share my explorations and discoveries with you.
All my love to you this Mother’s Day and every day.