I love being celebrated on Mother’s Day – with hand-written cards and breakfast in bed — but it’s a sad day, too for my own mother has been gone for 16 years. I’m feeling this sadness as a fresh wound since my very dearest friend lost her mom this year. The ritual of saying good-bye to our aging and/or ailing mothers has become more normal for me and my group of friends – a rite of passage for those of us of a “certain age”. And, of course, death is normal – in Western culture we just don’t like to think about it.
The Chinese have a different way of thinking about death and incorporating it into their everyday lives. They revere and honor their elderly and spend time and energy in finding an auspicious place for their loved ones’ remains. Indeed, it was in seeking the most beautiful, peaceful, safe and comfortable place for the departed that Feng Shui came into being thousands of years ago. Feng Shui literally means Wind and Water – two elements that show us the eternal nature of energy: it cannot be created or destroyed; all things are made up of energy and it flows through all things.
Usually I apply the concepts and tools of Feng Shui in space – by moving furniture and objects to create balanced environments for my clients’ homes, offices and landscapes. Today, as I think and write about Mother’s Day, I am reminded of the how energy flows through us – from our ancestors before us through our very being into our children. I see my Mom, her melancholy and her humor, in my son’s beautiful blue eyes – the only blue-eyed grandchild. My daughter’s love of art and poetry comes from the wellspring of creativity that springs from my mother. These are beautiful, everyday reminders of her.
In fact, I don’t just think about her on Mother’s Day. I think about her everyday. I speak to her in the car on the way to work. I apologize for some of those things I did! I commiserate that I finally understand what she went through raising kids – raising me. When my mom passed in May, 1995, a friend told me that day, “You will grieve for her the rest of your life.” At first this was a shock to hear. Was I going to feel this way forever? This cutting pain in my heart, my mind, my stomach? No, of course, not. The acute pain does subside, but the missing her – never. And, that is a good thing. It means that I was so well-loved, so cherished, so watched and looked after that I will miss her, miss being mothered, for the rest of my life. How very lucky I am.
My mom, in her wisdom, wanted a place to rest for eternity so we could visit her. And, she has it – by a fountain next to a stream. There is wind and water. It is a lovely place to physically visit. But, the place I visit her most is in my heart and mind, in the energy of thought and love.
Happy Mother’s Day to all who celebrate; to all who grieve; to my mama, and to Jeanne.