Friday, January 30, 2015

The world of "would have been"








































Today, January 30, 2015, would have been my mom's 80th birthday.

As I write that, I'm struck by the words "would have been."

I used to say that kind of thing often.  For instance, if Allison and I went to an event like the Music Lovers' House Tour (where you go around and view fancy homes to raise money) or the Miniatures Show (with displays of miniature houses, people, clothing, etc.), I'd say, "Mom would really have loved to do that with us!"  The unstated implication, though, was "We'll do that again some day when she can come with us."

Those "would haves" have changed.

Richard and Allison and I go to the Barra MacNeils' Christmas concert and afterward we say "Mom would have loved that!" -- but she won't be going to any concerts with us.

I go to Value Village and pick up a few nice things at ridiculously cheap prices and think, "I would have loved to call Mom and tell her all about my finds" -- but I can't.

I publish a blog post that seems to strike a chord with people, and I think, "Wouldn't Mom have loved to read this?" -- but she won't be reading any more of my posts.

Dad surprises us by picking up the phone and ordering Christmas gifts for his kids from PEI Preserve Company (currently we're enjoying the blueberry-raspberry jam on our toast every morning) and I think, "Mom would have been proud of Dad for doing that on his own" -- but of course he wouldn't be doing it at all if she was still here.

"Would have" is a strange world to navigate.  It's a sad place because everywhere you turn there are reminders of what won't be.  Yet it's also a joyful place because doing the things that person would have loved make you feel closer to them for just a moment.

Mom, I would have phoned you today to wish you a happy birthday.  I'd probably have made some joke like "I hope the next 80 years are just as good as the first 80."  But I won't be calling.  I still can't quite believe that's true.  It's OK, though.  I know you are celebrating now, in a place where there is no such thing as a sad "would have been."

"In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; 
if it were not so, I would have told you; 
for I go to prepare a place for you."  
John 14:2

10 comments:

  1. Jeannie, this brought tears to my eyes. I had an almost two hour phone call with my mother this morning, and as I read your post, I contemplated what it would be like not to be able to pick up the phone and rant to her about sexism and gender oppression in church and know that she'd understand exactly why those things bother me so much. I thought, someday, I won't be able to call her or she won't be able to call me, depending on how our lives go. It makes me value those conversations all the more, even when my ear is aching a little from holding the phone for two hours. Hugs to you and your family as you navigate this grief. I think I would've liked your mom, and I look forward to someday meeting her in that place where there are no goodbyes.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and responding, Laura. I'm glad this spoke to you. I know what you mean. There are certain things that happen, certain things I want to vent about or whatever & I think "My mom would be the one person who would find this particularly interesting" or would really get it.

      Thanks for your kind words!

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  2. Jeannie, when I read how you think of your mother often and all those wonderful moments you want to share with her, it proves to me what a special relationship you've had with her. That is a blessing that will last the rest of your life, even as you go through that life without her being just a phone call away.

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    1. Thank you, Tim; I really appreciate your comment.

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  3. Thanks for this post, it really struck a chord with me.
    God bless you and your family.

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    1. Thank you so much, Tuija -- I always appreciate you stopping by to read and comment. Blessings on you today, too.

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  4. I'm SO glad I stopped by here today, my friend, because I've been wondering how your are doing since your Mom passed away. What a lovely tribute to her birthday you've written. How wonderful that you had a mother you would have wanted to call or do all those things with. This makes me appreciate more my 74 year old feisty Texas mama. Grace to you as you miss your mom; may the joys overshadow the sadnesses in the years to come.

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    1. Thank you so much, Betsy. I think the absence of my mom is starting to sink in more and more as the months pass.

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  5. Just read this post, Jeannie. Thinking about you and praying for you now. <3

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    1. Thank you Adriana - I really appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and words.

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