“Thou art the Iris, fair among the fairest, Who, armed with golden rod And winged with the celestial azure, bearest The message of some God.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from Iris
Years ago, Mom brought home some irises and planted them in the yard. They’ve been moved around a lot over the years, but they are still there and come up every year. Each year, seeing the purple-blue flowers blooming Dad’s backyard, I smile and remember the happy times with my mom.
Mom died almost 8 years ago. As a teenager and young adult who had never really experienced losing a loved one, I couldn’t fathom being able to continue living and breathing with my mom or dad. I imagined the grief would overwhelm me and drag me down into an abyss.
When the time actually came, I had found that my soul was stronger than I imagined in those days. Grief still weighed me down, but I knew that I could get through this.
Part of the reason I was confident is because my hope of heaven. I know that someday I will be reunited with my mother in heaven and that makes it easier to go on.
The hard part was the relearning of how to do life without my mom being just a phone call away. It was a slow path that I often didn’t want to travel. Since death is a fact of life, it’s a path we all have to walk at one time or another.
I found that holding on to the little reminders of Mom helped me when times were toughest. The silly songs that made her laugh during her last years will often bubble up from the depths of my spirit and bring a smile with them. Sometimes it’s just wearing that scarf that was hers. Or laughing at a joke that we shared.
Carrying on after the death of a loved one is never easy. Having reminders of the happier times is a help. Each spring I look for Mom’s irises to pop their heads up from the soil. For me it’s like a message, a special reminder that life goes on here on earth until we meet our loved ones again in heaven.