Archive for the ‘grief’ Tag

The Reminder of Pink Skies: Filling Up Life Isn’t Very Filling   1 comment

The house even seems bigger now, without the chairs and table and wardrobes, the carpets and end tables and piles of things we never used but only moved from spot to spot. It’s been a good reminder to me, about how our life can expand if we’re willing to throw some of our stuff on to the altar. — Shawn Smucker

The sky is that soft pink that I only like in things not human-made – clouds and tiny multi-floral roses, sea urchins and the underbellies of hummingbirds.  I feel like I could spend all day looking out this window at the sky.

Last night, I stood outside my old high school waiting for someone I had known in twenty years ago and am getting to know a bit now.  I watched the girls from the travel softball team move in and out, bats slung to their backpacks with elastic straps, and then, I looked up at the sky.  It was that perfect silver blue of dusk, and across it, planes etched pink trails that faded quickly back to blue.  I breathed deep and marvelled at the mystery that is flight and our ability to become accustomed to it.

Lately, I have been filling my life up with activities, with obligations and plans. Not quite subconsciously, I’ve been trying to make-up for things that I am lacking – a partner, children, a home of my own – and yet, still, I find that these things don’t fill me. Instead, I get full from pink skies and plane trails.

Perhaps this is what is asked when we are told to be like little children.  Sometimes filling up means letting go.

In what ways do you try to make up for “lack” in your life? With activity? Food? Alcohol? TV?  Does it work?  



Grief Is Individual   4 comments

As I write this post, late on Friday, November 25th, I am living my 366th day on this earth without my mom.  Ruth M. Cumbo passed away last year on Thanksgiving day at just after 4am.

Just the other night, I woke up from a nightmare where I had been groaning, “Mommy! Mommy!” over and over.  Even in the dream, I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t rescuing me.

Many loving people have sympathized with me over this year.  I have heard tearful stories of mothers who died twenty years ago, of those totally unknown, of those still living by in failing health.  I have appreciated all of these as personal, painful, lovingly told stories.  Stories are what bind us together.

But even as I listen to these, even as I know that people are reaching out and holding me with their words, I still feel alone in this.  My grief is unique to me, just as my mother was unique to me.

For me, grief is compounded by the fact that – despite all the love that surrounds me – I grieve my mom alone, without a partner, without children who might give me glimpses of her expressions or gestures.  It is a scary thing to be both motherless and not a mother.

I miss, most, of late, my mother’s hands.  Whenever she was in a conversation where people were real and, thus, there was risk (and she loved these conversations) her fingers constantly worked a pattern on her jeans – as if the movement of her hand against her thigh might calm the hearts of those in the room.

I miss her fingers on the piano – so pale in their tint, so soft, so confident.  Something that Mom kept tucked away in herself – a humble strength, a confidence – came alive when she played music.  I miss that.

So while others miss Mom and while others miss their moms, no one misses her like I do.  And this is both beautiful and almost impossibly hard.

Who do you miss?  What do you miss most?

If you’d like to read more about why my mom was so important to so many, please see the guest post I was honored to write for Confessions of a Funeral Director, Caleb Wilde’s blog.

Posted November 25, 2011 by Andi Cumbo-Floyd in Life Lessons, Parenting, Relationships

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Sharing TV, and Memories, with My Dad   2 comments

“So who would you pick to send home?” Dad asks from his cross-legged seat on the sofa.

“I’m going to go with the high schoolers,” I say.

We started watching it last December, just weeks after Mom died.  It was a way for us to remember her – a musician and a lover of great music – without having to bear up under the massive boulders of pain that were our grief.  We discussed who would make it each week, and at the end, I picked Streetcorner Symphony and Dad took Committed.  Dad won; I think he gloated secretly.

Tonight at about 7:30, I went out to Dad’s shop and reminded him, “Sing-off at 8.”  He smiled and said he’d be in.  We talked about who was good and why – we both liked Messiah’s Men for their story but knew they couldn’t really compete, and Dad loved the voice of the woman who sang lead for the Deltones.

At about 9pm, Dad goes up and makes up both hot chocolate, the kind with extra marshmallows, and I am reminded of all the Sunday nights the four of us – Mom, Dad, my brother, and I – sat and watched the Disney Sunday Movie with hot chocolate in hand and shag carpet under foot.  It was our way of being together before the work and school week began.  I can’t remember a single one of those movies, but I do remember watching them, all of us together.

Now, for two hours, Dad and I sit and enjoy the best a cappella groups TV can bring us. . . The Sing-Off is our thing together these days.

TV isn’t always my favorite  – but it can be a good thing, a way to heal, a way to grieve, a way to commune with each other and our memories.