Terri’s been close by these last few weeks. And I’ve been searching for a way to pay homage to her on this first anniversary of the day she left this earth. In a way that makes sense to a six year old…
As Terri said in her May 30th, 2012 post, “Today is the second anniversary of my mom’s passing. It’s a weird day. You don’t really want to “celebrate” per se. But the day cannot go unrecognized. All day long she has been with me. In my thoughts. In my prayers. In my meditation session. In the James Taylor music that came on the radio. I know she is helping me on this journey. But I still wish she were here in person, alive, to hold me and cheer me through it all. She was always my biggest cheerleader. I miss you mom!”
We miss you too Terri… And we wish you were here in person, alive, to hold Miss M and all of us close…
But somehow, someway, we were able to figure out how to honor this day. For you… With you… Through the guidance you provided…
It all started with my idea to start a new tradition of decorating their Christmas tree on this “anniversary”. Heron loved the idea, and Miss M was up bright and early, eager to start our day.
As she savored her whipped cream decorated oatmeal, we scrolled through photos on my computer, watching video after video of her as a toddler. One captured Miss M, Terri and I preparing for a special surprise anniversary dinner that Miss M and I had created for Terri and Heron. The time was ripe…
“So, you know how people celebrate special days like birthdays and anniversaries? Like you and I did in the video for Mamãe and Papi? Well today is a special day like that.”
“I know we are going to decorate our tree.”
“That’s right! But it’s also the day that Mamãe went to heaven last year. Remember how we used to go to Ptown to remember Nana Canada? We would go to the cemetery and out for ice cream and go out to eat? We used to go on the day Nana Canade went to heaven. We went with Mamãe, Papi, and Grandpa. And Nana Nana and your Aunties. Well today is a day to remember Mamãe and how much she loved you and how much we loved her.”
“Are we going to have a party?”
“Sort of… Jamie’s coming and Aunty Eryka. And we will decorate the tree and then go out in nature like Mamãe loved to do.”
And that was that…
We prepped the living room. I ran to the grocery store. Jamie arrived and Papi got a fabulous tree. Music filled the house.
And then there were these moments… Like when Miss M lovingly opened the ornaments I bought her last year with pictures of her and Mamãe, and found the perfect spot on the tree for them. Or when Papi lifted her up to place the Nana Canada star at the top of the tree. Or when he took her upstairs to get a surprise for Aunty L- the blue light necklace given to him by hospice last year on the day Terri died. We told Miss M the story again about how Papi came to Dartmouth the day Mamãe died and brought her the blue light. He reminded her it stayed lit for 3 days because that was how long it took for her to get to heaven…
We eventually made our way to the beach. Late in the afternoon, when the sun was just beginning to make its descent. As Miss M made up racing game after racing game for Aunty Eryka and I, Papi quietly spread Terri’s ashes in the ocean. A single seagull sat perched on the jetty.
“He has been sitting there the whole time we were here. He is people watching,” joked Heron.
“If you ask me it’s Terri. She’s been here all along,” I replied. Aunty Eryka tearfully agreed!
As the sun sank into the horizon, Miss M instructed Aunty Eryka and I to put o’s between all the s’s she was making in the sand. They started right after, “I love you”.
“Who is this for?” I asked.
As she made her way farther and farther away, Eryka and I tried to make sense out of what she was doing.
When we finally reached her, way up near the car, I asked her, “What are you making??”
“I love you so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, much…”
In the end, it was Terri Luanna’s precious daughter, born of the mother love created by Terri, and her mother, Jeanne, before her, who payed the highest homage to her mother.
I will leave you with a slideshow, inspired by a musical visit I received from Terri a few weeks ago.I was driving home one night when the Laura Nyro song, Triple Goddess Twilight, came on my Pandora. The lyrics evoked repeated flashes of our Terri Luanna… And her mother, Jeanne… And daughter, Miss M… Triple Goddesses.
On my ride home tonight I was feeling drained. Empty. I had put Laura Nyro on my Pandora. Suddenly, it came on…
Love, Aunty L