I heard that phrase more than once at my Mother's wake. People who meant well said it, some of them who had actually lost their own mothers and knew what they were talking about. Still, at the time, I remember thinking "No. She is not with me anymore. She is with Daddy and Catherine, but not with me.."
I would not have said that to my comforters, though. If they want to believe that their Moms are still hanging out with them in a ghostly fashion, who am I to take that away from them? No. Their sorrow was once as fresh as my own, and if believing their moms never really left them were a balm on their wounds, I wasn't going to spill vinegar on it.
However, yesterday, I heard my Momma's voice out of nowhere, quite unexpectedly. I was standing at the grave of a dear friend and family member whose coffin was soon to be lowered. It's May, so none of us expected it to be so chilly (32 degrees Fahrenheit). Actually, I wasn't even expecting to be at graveside. Most of my family has had the "graveside" service in the cemetery chapel. Then again, most of my family seems to choose the Winter or rainy season to die.
A man was passing out cards printed with the Psalms we'd be praying and the hymns we'd be singing, but there was not enough. I let Bob hold the card while I looked on. I stuffed my cold hands into my pocket and felt a bit of silk. I pulled it out and found a babushka.
"HALLELUJAH!" I heard my Momma's voice call out.
I looked around.
"HALLELUJAH! I always tell you to bring a scarf! Finally you listen!"
I heard my own voice say in echoes from the past "You probably snuck it in there!"
"No I didn't!" she said. "You're too old for me to go putting everything you need in your pockets for you. How will you learn then?"
I tied the scarf around my head, and felt the wind much less piercingly. No, it was not my mother's ghost speaking to me, nor did she place that scarf in my pocket. No, this was just a long forgotten conversation. We may have had it when I was 17, or 37. I hope to hear her voice many more times, and remember far more long forgotten conversations. I finally understand that she will always be with me.
I suppose it seems foolish to wish a Happy Mother's Day to a woman enjoying eternal happiness, but I am going to indulge myself now and do so.
Happy Mother's Day, Momma!
Happy Mothers Day also to my friends out there who are moms.
BTW, if any of you are wondering how that scarf got in my pocket, I later remembered going to a party in the same black dress I wore to Momma's wake and funeral, and adding the scarf as an accessory to jazz it up and make it look less somber. I must've put the scarf in my coat pocket when going home.