I’VE GONE TO SEE THE ROSES. (A story from The Mama Vault)

For thirty-four years, I’ve thought of motherhood as it applied to me.  I’ve chronicled the ebb and flow of it–written about the continuous fine tuning of my  heart regarding the holding on and letting go of  my own  children.

 

All the while in the background, there was a letting go running parallel and concurrent to mine–a releasing very much in sync with me.  It was a quiet release–a graceful one.  An unselfish one. It was never written about, at least not by me, until this very moment, because only now do I see it for the lovely thing it was.  And is.

 

I’d forgotten that to someone else,  I  was the child being continuously released.

 

For almost fifty-nine years I had a mother, and for almost fifty-nine years I was her child.  She called me Daney.    Her name was Glenda Faye.

 

She was beautiful, and she loved me with her whole heart every day she breathed.  Well, there might have been a few off days, but let’s not split hairs.  Even when I had my own life and grew busy in it, she loved me.  She gave me space to tend to my life, and she began to tend to her pretty pink roses, because a mother’s tending has to go somewhere.  Where once she’d gardened me with her hands, she began to garden me with her heart–in that secret place where she could, without my knowing, pluck and pray away the weeds I didn’t see growing.  It’s the way this motherhood thing goes down, I’m learning.

 

I see it now–the song and dance of it.  She held my hand from the minute I was born and I held hers until the minute she was gone.  The in-between was real and crazy and loving.  It was gritty and alive and maddening– all of it one extravagant gift, the fullness and meaning of which I’m only beginning to see.

 

One month and some days after.

 

It’s just like her to plant something that patiently waited to show itself until now.   She was good at cultivating a surprise.

 

When I was twenty one, I was helping Mom color her hair in the bathroom.  In another room of the house, my then-boyfriend/now-husband sat with my dad. We had an inkling, my mother and I,  their discussion might have something to do with a blessing to marry.  There was way too much nervous energy and curiosity in that tiny bathroom that night, so Mom did the thing that came naturally to her.  While Clairol honey-blonde color worked its magic on her roots,  she painstakingly crawled on her hands and knees through the living room to eavesdrop, looking back at me along the way as she tried to stifle her laughter, which would’ve totally foiled our plan.

 

I don’t even remember the outcome.

 

I just remember Mom.

 

And the joy of her.  The fun of her.

 

I remember it in the way her eighty-year-old spry self effortlessly climbed the steep stairs to my house–powered by her brown Chuck Taylors–all for a few minutes together with me and a good cup of coffee.

 

She sowed joy in our ordinary days together.  It’s like she planted all these little seeds in me along the way, and they’re beginning just now to break through the soil–emerging as these deeply-rooted, brightly-colored happy  stories. She’d clearly been planning it all along with every story we made together.  And on the days when the stories find me again, Glenda Faye is still fully alive.

 

Surprise.  Here I am.

 

I’m smiling now, as I write, because I can almost hear her say those words–her slightly irreverent and always  “to-the-left-of-center” sense of humor oozing from every letter in the sentence.

 

It’s the gift she left for me so I would smile.  It’s the next best thing to having her here.

 

I walked the block from my house to hers today.  I checked the mailbox.  I went inside just to make sure everything was okay. I sat at the piano for a minute.  I suppose all I’m really doing is looking for her–some piece of her. I don’t think it’s possible to untangle the ache  for  her from the joy of  her.  It’s all mixed together.  I’m waiting for something in my gut to settle down.  I sat in the backyard for a bit.  She would love how it’s coming alive now.  I almost looked right past the metal sign she hung on the fence a long time ago–the familiarity of it causing me to nearly miss it.  I read the scripted words written over green paint–all of it beginning to fade.

 

I’ve gone to see the roses.  

 

And so you have Mom.   So you have.  I hear they’re really something over there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Comments

  1. Anne Monnig on March 21, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Beautiful words to describe the indescribable. It is a loss like none other and a gift like none other.

    • Dana Wright on May 3, 2019 at 11:02 am

      Yes. A loss and a gift. You’re right.

  2. Peggy Thurston on March 22, 2019 at 5:19 am

    That was so beautiful….
    I know Exactly how you feel.
    The ache and the joy.

    • Dana Wright on May 3, 2019 at 11:02 am

      I know you know Peggy. But this is not the end of the story.

      • Pat Brandenberger on May 11, 2019 at 11:17 am

        Lovely

  3. Cindy Campbell on March 22, 2019 at 8:05 am

    The sweetest words you’ve written!

  4. Lisa Hale Corbell on March 22, 2019 at 8:06 am

    Ok, that made me cry! 😁. I dread the day my Mom is gone! I feel the same about her! She will soon be 88 and getting weaker! ❤️

  5. Mary Helen Wheelock on March 22, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Beautiful, Dana. I know just how you feel . . . it’s bitter sweet. I loved your mom and you would have loved mine. We were both very lucky and blessed.

    • Dana Wright on May 3, 2019 at 11:01 am

      I wish I’d have known yours.

  6. Miki L O'Bryan on March 22, 2019 at 8:36 am

    What a beautiful work of art, Dana.

    • Dana Wright on May 3, 2019 at 11:00 am

      Thank you Miki.

  7. Shannon Jenkins on March 22, 2019 at 8:47 am

    Dana, your writing makes me smile and warms my heart while making it break, all at the same time. I can only imagine the empty place your mom has left. I know I will face the same emptiness soon. .I suppose you are planting seeds to prepare me.

  8. Dormye Halbrooks on March 22, 2019 at 9:05 am

    These were wonderful words…….I was thinking about my mom as I was reading about yours…..and yes, they’ve gone to see roses.

  9. Linda Brownlee on March 22, 2019 at 9:59 am

    A heartfelt perspective on motherhood that we often do not see as we are experiencing it. Thank you Dana, for words that bring peace and joy to my heart. ❤️🌸

  10. Laci Bjella on March 22, 2019 at 10:14 am

    So very beautiful! She is so loved and missed 🤗

    • Dana Wright on May 3, 2019 at 11:00 am

      Yes she is.

  11. Amy on March 22, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    You have lots of special memories. Hold them close.

  12. Jan Spinks on March 22, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Beautiful writing of your Mother. She wil always be with you .

    • Dana Wright on May 3, 2019 at 10:59 am

      Thank you, Jan. Yes she will.

  13. Lupe Stovall on March 23, 2019 at 9:45 am

    Once again you’ve tugged at my Heart. Memories of my Mom are with me daily. Palmer (my son) described me to a complete stranger as “Compassionate and Giving”. I smiled. I said, “that’s my Mom not me!” Or, so I thought. Silly Me! She left her mark and I just need to truly look to see her anytime I want.

    In your story you stated “because a Mother’s tending has to go somewhere”. I never thought of it that way! BAM!

    XXoo

  14. La Fonda on March 23, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    Dana you brought sweet tears to my eyes. Your Mom will be missed by us all. I love your memories and thank you for sharing. Our Moms are very special people.

    • Dana Wright on May 3, 2019 at 10:59 am

      Thank you LaFonda.

  15. Marcella on March 23, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Wonderful, sweet words, Dana! Love it! We will all go see the roses some day and then we will see our mothers again! Love and blessings!

    • Dana Wright on May 3, 2019 at 10:58 am

      I miss her everyday, Marcella, but it is not the end of “us”.

  16. Paula Parker on March 24, 2019 at 6:48 am

    This is so precious. Love your insight. Love what you said about our “tending to” as Moms…it has to go somewhere, so she tended to the roses. Stirs in my heart. Love you sweet friend. 😘

    • Dana Wright on May 3, 2019 at 10:57 am

      Thank you, Paula.

  17. Jean on May 2, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    oh my, my friend. this is THE best…..one of those that I print and put in my Bible for safekeeping so I can re-read. Love you.

    • Dana Wright on May 3, 2019 at 10:57 am

      It helped me to write it down. As silly as it sounds, I’ve re-read it too.

  18. Stephanie Branson on May 12, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    I loved this! The words were so beautiful, Nan was such a beautiful person and loved her family bigger than life, I stayed in touch with her in messenger. I enjoyed our conversation so much and so thankful for them She made me feel a part of something special! Happy Mother’s Day Dana ! ❤️

    • Dana Wright on June 4, 2019 at 3:38 pm

      Yes she was. Thank you Stephanie.

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